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Staff Sergeant James E. Bolen
Class of 2003

Navy Commendation Medal

United States Army



Staff Sergeant James E. Bolen. For heroism while participating in aerial flight in the Republic of Vietnam. Sergeant Bolen distinguished himself by valorous actions on the night of 12 November 1968 while serving as a member of a reconnaissance team on a classified mission. Sergeant Bolen volunteered to rappel from a helicopter into enemy held territory with a special piece of equipment. Due to the darkness of the night the pilot had difficulty holding the aircraft in a stable position. When Sergeant Bolen reached the end of his rappel rope the aircraft suddenly lost altitude and he was severely bounced and dragged along the ground. Before he could unhook himself from the rope he received enemy automatic weapons fire from all directions. Ground fire necessitated that the helicopter quickly gain altitude jerking Sergeant Bolen off his feet and dragging him through the trees until sufficient altitude could be reached to clear the trees and get out of range of the ground fire. Sergeant Bolen was then flown a distance of 40 kilometers dangling at the end of a 250 foot rope and dropped into the middle of a friendly armored unit. Sergeant Bolen's heroic actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the Special Forces and the United States Army.





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