MAJ Bennie H. Mann, Jr. USMC
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting
The NAVY CROSS to
Major Bennie H. Mann Jr, United States Marine Corps
For service as set forth in the following
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Bennie H. Mann, Jr. (0-60180), Major, U.S. Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism as a Helicopter Aircraft Commander and Division Flight Leader with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron ONE HUNDRED SIXTY-THREE, Marine Aircraft Group SIXTEEN, First Marine Aircraft Wing, in Quang Bin Province, Republic of Vietnam, on 31 March 1965. Participating in a seventeen-aircraft flight transporting assault troops of the Fifth Vietnamese Airborne Battalion, Major Mann, along with the entire mission, was scheduled to make three assault landings into an area defended by an estimated force of two companies of insurgent communist (Viet Cong) guerrillas. During the first landing, his aircraft was hit in the engine compartment by intense enemy automatic weapons fire. Although he was experiencing aircraft power and control malfunctions, he continued to lead the attack a second and third time into ever increasing hostile fire. When, after lifting off from the third assault landing, he saw a downed aircraft and wounded crewmen under enemy attack in the landing zone, he unhesitatingly turned his aircraft around and braved the intense enemy onslaught for a fourth time in order to rescue the crew of a stricken helicopter. Displaying exceptional leadership and courage, he directed the rescue efforts, and when his crewmen and copilot were taken under fire by the nearby enemy, he fearlessly hovered his helicopter between the enemy and the crewmen in order to shield their rescue efforts. As a result of his courageous actions, inspiring leadership, and extraordinary airmanship, Major Mann contributed significantly to the successful assault mission and to saving the lives of several of his fellow Marines. His heroic conduct and selfless devotion to duty reflected great credit upon himself and the Marine Corps and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
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