Robert B. Arnold

#1 – The President of the United States takes great pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Lieutenant Commander Robert B. Arnold for heroism and extraordinary achievement in aerial flight as a jet attack pilot serving with Attack Squadron One Hundred Sixty-four embarked in USS Oriskany (CVA-34) over hostile North Vietnamese territory on 4 September 1967, Lieutenant Commander Arnold planned, briefed, and led an extremely successful 22-plane air-wing strike against the An Luan Military Supply Depot located seven miles southwest of Haiphong. This heavily defended strategic target was the primary supply source for the concentration of sophisticated enemy defenses in and around the major port facility. Lieutenant Commander Arnold distinguished himself through meticulous preflight planning and briefings in which he devised a plan of action to ensure maximum tactical deception to confuse and surprise the enemy defenses in the area. He displayed the highest degree of courage, aerial leadership, and aggressive determination to accomplish the task at hand as he led the strike group to the target. In spite of deteriorating weather, Lieutenant Commander Arnold succeeded in maintaining the integrity of his strike group while evading a barrage of surface-to-air missiles fired at the main force approaching the target. Encountering accurate anti-aircraft fire over the target, he courageously led the entire strike group in an extremely accurate and successful dive-bombing attack. All bombs blanketed the target area, creating large secondary explosions with dense smoke billowing to 10,000 feet. Ten major warehouse storage areas five military barracks and three support building were destroyed. Fires still burning fircely four hours after the attack, assured even greater damage to this strategic target complex. Lieutenant Commander Arnold’s brilliant planning, gallant flight leadership, and courageous decision-making under enemy fire assured the success of this important mission which significantly crippled the enemy’s capability to supply its Haiphong defenses. His actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. *************************************************

#2 – The President of the United States takes great pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Lieutenant Commander Robert B. Arnold for heroism and extraordinary achievement in aerial flight as a jet attack pilot serving with Attack Squadron One Hundred Sixty-four, embarked in USS Oriskany (CVA-34) over hostile North Vietnamese territory on 22 October 1967. Lieutenant Commander Arnold planned, briefed and led a 25-plane Air-Wing strike against the Haiphong Railroad Yard. Approaching the target area, the strike group encountered a heavy barrage of 85 millimeter anti-aircraft fire from north of the target. This serious threat to the strike force was quickly silenced by the flak-suppression aircraft prepositioned in an optimum location for an attack as the result of Lieutenant Commander Arnold’s meticulous study of the highest threat anti-aircraft defenses in the area. Lieutenant Commander Arnold skillfully led the flight through accurate 57 and 37 millimeter anti-aircraft fire to the attack roll-in point. In the face of increased enemy resistance, he led the entire strike force in an extremely successful attack. He scored direct hits on a string of railroad cars and received one large secondary explosion which left two of the cars burning fiercely. The entire strike group destroyed or severely damaged over 21 cars, ignited three large secondary explosions, cut the rail lines in several key places, and left numerous open fires throughout the rail yard. Lieutenant Commander Arnold’s precise planning, superior airmanship, courageous strike leadership, and accomplished bombing accuracy assured the success of this important mission which inflicted crippling damage to one of the enemy’s major railroad yards. His actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. *************************************************

#3 – The President of the United States takes great pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Lieutenant Commander Arnold for heroism and extraordinary achievement in aerial flight as a jet attack pilot serving with Attack Squadron One Hundred Sixty-four embarked in USS Oriskany (CVA034) on 25 October 1967. Lieutenant Commander Arnold led a division of surface-to-air missile suppression aircraft in support of one of the largest, most significant strikes of the war against the Phuc Yen Airfield located 11 miles north of Hanoi, North Vietnam. He distinguished himself by his meticulous preflight planning and effective utilization of the missile-suppression aircraft, in the face of the most sophisticated array of enemy surface-to-air sites yet encountered. Approaching the target area Lieutenant Commander Arnold accelerated ahead of the main force and penetrated the inner line of defenses to execute an anti-radar missile attack against an occupied surface-to-air missile installation two miles west of Hanoi. While recovering from this successful attack, which silenced the enemy missile site, he encountered two surface-to-air missiles fired at him from another site. He outmaneuvered the tracking missiles and unhesitatingly attacked the site from which they had been observed to lift off. He forced the missile guidance radar to go off the air with the successful delivery of his last remaining missile sites in the Hanoi area until the main strike force was clear. During this time, he was continuously exposed to acurate 95 mm anti-aircraft. As he departed the target area, Lieutenant Commander Arnold passed over an auxiliary airfield, 15 miles west of Hanoi, and sighted a jet aircraft near the end of one of the runways. He immediately attacked this lucrative target in spite of intense 37mm fire from guns on the field. His bombs completely engulfed and destroyed the aircraft. Lieutenant Commander Arnold, through his detailed planning, effective utilization of forces available and aggressive execution of the surface-to-air missile suppression mission, enabled the strike group to inflict severe damage to this strategic target without loss of an aircraft. His actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. *************************************************

#4 – The President of the United States takes great pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Lieutenant Commander Arnold for heroism and extraordinary achievement in aerial flight as a jet attack pilot serving with Attack Squadron One Hundred Sixty-four embarked in USS Oriskany (CVA-34) on 26 October 1967. Lieutenant Commander Arnold was the leader of a division of surface-to-air missile suppression aircraft in support of a major strike against the Hanoi Thermal Power Plant. This primary source of power for the enemy’s capital city was fiercely defended by the most sophisticated array of anti-aircraft batteries and surface-to-air missile sites in all of North Vietnam. Lieutenant Commander Arnold distinguished himself by his meticulous preflight planning and attention to detail in positioning the available missile-suppression aircraft so as to provide maximum protection to the main strike force. He assigned each member of his flight a specific high threat occupied missile site to take under direct attack. Approaching the target area, Leutenant Commander Arnold accelerated ahead of the main force, penetrated the enemy’s inner defenses and executed a daring attack on a high threat active missile site two miles to the east of Hanoi. He completed two successful attacks with his antiradar missiles in the face of intense, accurate anti-aircraft fire. His weapons were observed impacting in the radar vans and destroyed the critical missile guidance radar. While encountering heavy, accurate 85 and 57 millimeter anti-aircraft fire, he courageously repositioned himself for an attack on the missiles and launchers with his remaining bombs. In spite of the immediate danger to his own safety, he executed a precision attack and destroyed two launchers with missiles poised for firing. Lieutenant Commander Arnold’s thorough planning, professional leadership and aggressive execution of the demanding surface-to-air missile suppression role which resulted in the confirmed destruction of an active enemy missile site in the face of the fiercest enemy resistance made a significant contribution to the success of the primary mission. His heroic actions and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.