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Captain John A. Firse Class of 2010

United States Air Force

Air Force Cross

Captain John A. Firse distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force as a helicopter Rescue Crew Commander over North Vietnam on 11 June 1967. On that date, Captain Firse flew deep into hostile territory to rescue two downed American pilots. After rescuing one survivor from the dense jungle, he hovered over the second, with intense and accurate ground fire tearing into his unarmed aircraft and causing extensive damage. Despite continuing fire, Captain Firse persevered in the recovery effort until the second survivor was safely aboard. Although three of his tires were blown and the hull was extensively damaged from hostile fire, Captain Firse skillfully recovered at a forward operating base. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship and aggressiveness, Captain Firse reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

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