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Medal of Honor

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William Edward Adams

Citation:

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to Major William Edward Adams (ASN: 521482167), United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with A/227 Assault Helicopter Company, 52d Aviation Battalion, 17th Aviation Group, 1st Aviation Brigade, in action against enemy aggressor forces at Kontum Province, Republic of Vietnam, on 25 May 1971. On that date, Major Adams volunteered to fly a lightly armed helicopter in an attempt to evacuate three seriously wounded soldiers from a small fire base which was under attack by a large enemy force. He made the decision with full knowledge that numerous anti-aircraft weapons were positioned around the base and that the clear weather would afford the enemy gunners unobstructed view of all routes into the base. As he approached the base, the enemy gunners opened fire with heavy machineguns, rocket-propelled grenades and small arms. Undaunted by the fusillade, he continued his approach determined to accomplish the mission. Displaying tremendous courage under fire, he calmly directed the attacks of supporting gunships while maintaining absolute control of the helicopter he was flying. He landed the aircraft at the fire base despite the ever-increasing enemy fire and calmly waited until the wounded soldiers were placed on board. As his aircraft departed from the fire base, it was struck and seriously damaged by enemy anti-aircraft fire and began descending. Flying with exceptional skill, he immediately regained control of the crippled aircraft and attempted a controlled landing. Despite his valiant efforts, the helicopter exploded, overturned, and plummeted to earth amid the hail of enemy fire. Major Adams' conspicuous gallantry, intrepidity, and humanitarian regard for his fellow man were in keeping with the most cherished traditions of the military service and reflected utmost credit on him and the United States Army.

General Orders: Department of the Army, General Orders No. 38 (September 6, 1974)

Action Date: 25-May-71

Service: Army

Rank: Major

Company: A/227 Assault Helicopter Company

Battalion: 52d Aviation Battalion

Regiment: 17th Aviation Group

Division: 1st Aviation Brigade

Image and information courtesy of Capt. Allan L. Henderson



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