The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor
YOUNG, GERALD O.
Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Air
Force, 37th ARS Da Nang AFB, Republic of Vietnam. Place and Date: Khesanh, 9
November 1967. Entered service at: Colorado Springs, Colo. Born: 9 May
1930, Chicago, Ill.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the
call of duty. Capt. Young distinguished himself while serving as a helicopter rescue crew
commander. Capt. Young was flying escort for another helicopter attempting the night
rescue of an Army ground reconnaissance team in imminent danger of death or capture.
Previous attempts had resulted in the loss of 2 helicopters to hostile ground fire. The
endangered team was positioned on the side of a steep slope which required unusual
airmanship on the part of Capt. Young to effect pickup. Heavy automatic weapons fire from
the surrounding enemy severely damaged 1 rescue helicopter, but it was able to extract 3
of the team. The commander of this aircraft recommended to Capt. Young that further rescue
attempts be abandoned because it was not possible to suppress the concentrated fire from
enemy automatic weapons. With full knowledge of the danger involved, and the fact that
supporting helicopter gunships were low on fuel and ordnance, Capt. Young hovered under
intense fire until the remaining survivors were aboard. As he maneuvered the aircraft for
takeoff, the enemy appeared at point-blank range and raked the aircraft with automatic
weapons fire. The aircraft crashed, inverted, and burst into flames. Capt. Young escaped
through a window of the burning aircraft. Disregarding serious burns, Capt. Young aided
one of the wounded men and attempted to lead the hostile forces away from his position.
Later, despite intense pain from his burns, he declined to accept rescue because he had
observed hostile forces setting up automatic weapons positions to entrap any rescue
aircraft. For more than 17 hours he evaded the enemy until rescue aircraft could be
brought into the area. Through his extraordinary heroism, aggressiveness, and concern for
his fellow man, Capt. Young reflected the highest credit upon himself, the U.S. Air Force,
and the Armed Forces of his country.