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Merlyn Hans Dethlefsen

 

TAPS

Fading light dims the sight,
And a star gems the sky,
    Gleaming bright.
From afar drawing nigh,    
    Falls the night.


Day is done, gone the sun,
From the lake, From the hills,
    From the sky.
All is well, safel
y rest,
    God is nigh.


Then good night, Peaceful night,
Till the light of the dawn
    Shineth bright,
God is near, do not fear,
  Friend, good night.

Arlington National Cemetery
  65-1626 

BORN:  June 29, 1934 at Greenville, IA

Entered Service in the US Air Force from Royal, IA

Earned The Medal of Honor During the Vietnam War For heroism on March 10, 1967 at Thai Nguyen, North Vietnam

DIED:  December 14, 1987 at the age of 53

Captain Dethlefsen piloted an F-105 aircraft in a flight engaged in a fire suppression mission over North Vietnam. The target was a key antiaircraft defensive complex containing surface-to-air missiles, antiaircraft artillery, and other automatic weapons. In the initial attack on the defensive complex the lead aircraft was crippled, and Captain Dethlefsen's aircraft was extensively damaged by the intense enemy fire. Realizing that the success of the impending fighter bomber attack on the center now depended on his ability to effectively suppress the defensive fire, Captain Dethlefsen ignored the enemy's overwhelming firepower and the damage to his aircraft and pressed his attack. Despite a continuing hail of antiaircraft fire, deadly surface-to-air missiles, and counterattacks by MIG interceptors, Captain Dethlefsen flew repeated close range strikes to silence the enemy defensive positions with bombs and cannon fire. His action in rendering ineffective the defensive SAM and antiaircraft artillery sites enabled the ensuing fighter bombers to strike successfully the important industrial target without loss or damage to their aircraft.

 

 

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