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Award - Frederick D. Ledfors


dsc Distinguished Service Cross

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Captain (Infantry) Frederick D. Ledfors, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force while serving as Pilot of a Light Observation Helicopter in the Republic of Vietnam.

Captain Ledfors distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 11 July 1972 while flying his light observation helicopter on a voluntary rescue mission behind enemy lines north of Quang Tri City, Republic of Vietnam, on 11 July 1972.

Captain Ledfors was serving as the scout team leader of an emergency rescue mission when he and his wingman were engaged by extremely intense small arms, automatic weapons, 23-mm. and 37-mm. anti-aircraft fires, and heat seeking missiles. In spite of the intensity and ferocity of the voluminous hostile fire, he continued his flight in search of the downed American crewmen. During his search, Captain Ledfors continually returned fire for fire with the hostile ground forces in the area. He successfully located the crash survivors in a bomb crater, descended into the confined area and hovered to their position, skillfully maneuvering his aircraft to avoid the hostile fire coming from a known North Vietnamese Army regimental stronghold surrounding the survivors' position.

After three of the survivors were placed aboard his aircraft, Captain Ledfors attempted to depart the landing zone. However, finding his aircraft excessively overloaded, he instructed his wingman to depart ahead of him so that should he not be able to clear the area, at least his wingman would get clear. Utilizing extraordinary skill and experience, Captain Ledfors was able to coax every bit of power from his straining engine and fly clear of the battle area, again breaching the barricade of intense hostile fire. Immediately realizing that he would be unable to remain airborne with his excessive load, he accomplished an extremely hazardous night landing into a relatively secure rice paddy and transferred the survivors to another aircraft.

Through his indomitable courage, total disregard for personal safety and inspiring leadership, Captain Ledfors was responsible for the successful rescue of five American air crewmen and one Vietnamese marine all of whom were severely burned or wounded and prevented their certain capture or death at the hands of the enemy.

Captain Ledfors' conspicuous gallantry, extraordinary heroism and intrepidity at the risk of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty, are in the highest traditions of the United States Army and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.

General Orders: Department of the Army, General Orders No. 5 (February 10, 1975)

Action Date: 11-Jul-72

Service: Army

Rank: Captain