Gilbert Beltran

Major Gilbert Beltran is awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism while participating in aerial flight. Major Gilbert Beltran distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 9 January 1966 while serving as aircraft commander of a helicopter ambulance engaged in a pickup of seven wounded Korean soldiers from the vicinity of An Nhon, Binh Dinh Province, Republic of Vietnam. Upon arriving at the battle area with an armed helicopter fire team escort, Major Beltran and his crew extracted seven wounded ROK soldiers and delivered them to the Sixth ROK Evacuation Hospital. As he lifted off, he received an urgent call to extract 12 more seriously wounded ROK soldiers in the same general area of the prior pickup site. Even though the armed escort was forced to return to Qui Nhon with mechanical troubles, Major Beltran proceeded without hesitation. Using high speed and a descending spiral approach, Major Beltran was successful in avoiding heavy insurgent fire, hearing only occasional sniper fire until reaching an altitude of 30 feet, dangerously close to the landing zone. At this time hostile fire was extremely accurate and intense and the ambulance sustained several hits in the engine compartment and upper deck of the cockpit. A moment later, Major Beltran climbed to a safer altitude and rendezvoused with a lone gunship which had returned from Qui Nhon. Driven by his dedicaton to duty, he courageously elected to try again even as Viet Cong fire was being received, Major Beltran skillfully and courageously touched down in the landing zone. Under sporadic sniper fire, seven patients were loaded aboard the “Dustoff” ship. Major Beltran nursed his loaded mercy aircraft back to a safe altitude while sustaining heavy fire. After unloading the wounded at the ROK Hospital, he flew back to the battle-torn area for the remaining five patients. Upon arrival, the ambulance sustained several more hits and he was informned that another “Dustoff” aircraft evacuated the remaining patients. Major Beltran’s bravery and devotion to duty, contributed materially to the successful extraction of the woundeed ROK soldiers. His heroic actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.