Thomas D. Baca

The President of the United States takes great pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Warrant Officer Thomas D. Baca for heroism while participating in aerial flight evidenced by voluntary action above and beyond the call of duty in the Republic of Vietnam on 14 May 1967 while serving with the Aviation Detachment, II Field Force Vietnam. On this date, Warrant Officer Baca was Aircraft Commander of an unarmed UH-1D helicopter engaged in transporting the Staff Chaplain of II Field Force Vietnam to Special Forces camps in the III Corps Tactical Zone for Sunday services. Landing at Cau Song Be Special Forces Camp, Warrant Officer Baca was informed that a Special Forces Civilian Irregular Defense Group company was engaged in a heavy fire fight with a well-armed enemy force a few miles away and required emergency medical evacuation for the injured personnel. Realizing the urgency of the situation, he volunteered the services of his aircraft without hesitation. With the help of another helicopter in the area, a load of troops was airlifted to reinforce the outnumbered company. Landing on a narrow dirt road flanked by bamboo thickets and heavy vegetation, Warrant Officer Baca used the rotor blades to cut through the dense undergrowth. As he directed the disembarkation of the reinforcements and the loading of the wounded, the battle raged all around his aircraft. After the loading was successfully completed, Warrant Officer Baca again used his rotors to clear a path for takeoff. Arriving at Cau Song Be, he was requested to extract the entire irregular company from their encircled positions. Increasing the danger, radio contact with the tactical elements had been lost. Maneuvering between artillery rounds on the left of the landing zone and bombs on the right, Warrant Officer Baca made five trips into the area, the hazards increasing with each trip as fewer personnel remained to defend the landing zone. His determined efforts saved the Vietnamese forces from complete annihilation. Warrant Officer Baca’s devotion to duty, unquestionable heroism, and outstanding flying proficiency were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.