Imants Celtnieks

The President of the United States takes great pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Specialist Four E4 Imants Celtnieks for heroism while participating in aerial flight evidenced by voluntary actions above and beyond the call of duty. Specialist Celtnieks distinguished himself on 7 August 1967 while serving as a helicopter Door Gunner during a combat assault north of Saigon, Republic of Vietnam. When the flight came under intense heavy automatic weapons fire during the initial assault, he showed great courage as he repeatedly exposed himself by hanging out of the helicopter so that he could deliver a continuous stream of fire into the enemy positions. Upon completion of the first devastating lift, only his and three other ships were capable of lifting in reinforcements. The second lift drew even heavier fire. One ship was shot down and his ship went in to rescue the crew. It too was shot down. He assisted the pilots out of the aircraft, recovered the radios and fired a machine gun from the hip. After being evacuated he boarded another ship and returned for three more lifts. His 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.