John A. Bercaw

The President of the United States takes great pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Warrant Officer 1 John A. Bercaw for heroism while participating in aerial flight in the Republic of Vietnam on 1 June 1968. Warrant Officer Bercaw was on standby as the Pilot of the command and control helicopter for the 3d Brigade, 101st Airborne Division at Dak Pek, Republic of Vietnam. A call was received in the early morning hours for the emergency evacuation of a seriously ill man on a mountain top fire support base. The dust off facility in Dak To was notified, but they could not reach the man due to extremely adverse weather conditions. Warrant Officer Bercaw immediately volunteered to fly the mission even though there were no other pilots available to assist him. Utilizing artillery illumination to guide him, Warrant Officer Bercaw flew his UH-1H helicopter to the pickup zone and extracted the ailing trooper. The return to Dak Pek was complicated as the weather conditions continued to worsen. While enroute, Warrant Officer Bercaw alerted the surgical team and requested that the searchlight be turned on as a guiding point. He then began a skillful descent making tight circles around the beam from the searchlight. Warrant Officer Bercaw completed this life-saving mission, as he landed next to the waiting ambulance that rushed the soldier to the aide station. Warrant Officer Bercaw’s personal bravery and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.