Thomas W. Amis

#1 – The President of the United States takes great pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Captain Thomas W. Amis for heroism and extraordinary achievement in aerial flight while serving as a Helicopter Aircraft Commander with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 363, First Marine Aircraft Wing in connection with operations against North Vietnamese forces in the vicinity of Cam Lo, Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam on 23 September 1966. During Operation Prairie, Captain Amis exhibited exceptional airmanship and courage in the face of intense enemy fire whole on an emergency medical evacuation mission. After locating the area of the landing zone through communication with the Forward Air Controller on the ground, he began his approach. The only landing available was a forty degree slope with many three to four foot stumps interspersed every few yards. Captain Amis attempted to land facing uphill into the wind; however, the severe turbulence coming over the ridgeline forced him to wave off on his first pass. As he reached the top of the ridge, he came under intense enemy automatic weapons fire which penetrated a fuel cell and wounded a Corpsman inside the aircraft. He called for suppressive fire from the ground unit and in spite of a rapid loss of fuel from the punctured fuel cell, Captain Amis successfully maneuvered his aircraft in a four foot hover until the wounded Marine was loaded aboard the helicopter. With fuel streaming from the fuel cells, he proceeded as rapidly as possible to the nearest medical facility where the wounded Marine and Corpsman were disembarked. Captain Amis’ heroism, extraordinary airmanship, exemplary leadership and inspiring devotion to duty 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 Captain Thomas W. Amis for heroism and extraordinary achievement in aerial flight while serving as a Pilot with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 363, Marine Aircraft Group Thirty-Six, First Marine Aircraft Wing on 4 October 1966 in connection with operations against insurgent communist (Viet Cong) forces in the Republic of Vietnam. As Flight Leader of a flight of five helicopters, Captain Amis led an emergency retraction mission to evacuate a twenty man reconnaissance team ten miles west of Quang Ngai. The ground unit was located atop a narrow ridge surrounded by small trees and was in imminent dander of being overrun by the Viet Cong. Two fixed wing aircraft and two armed helicopters had delivered suppressive fire on the enemy, but a heavy volume of small arms and automatic weapons fire was still being received upon the arrival of Captain Amis’ flight over the zone. Contact was immediately established with the reconnaissance team and the landing zone was marked with smoke. Despite the fact that the flight’s armed helicopter escort had engaged an enemy target to the left of the flight’s approach route, and thus was unable to provide suppressive fire, Captain Amis, realizing the necessity for an immediate retraction, commenced his approach to the restricted landing zone. Because the pickup area was large enough to accommodate a single aircraft, timing was of the utmost importance as the helicopters entered and lifted out of the zone. With fearless determination, Captain Amis entered the zone first, receiving two hits from semi automatic and automatic weapons fire as he landed. While four of the reconnaissance team members and a Viet Cong prisoner boarded his helicopter, he calmly relayed instructions to the remainder of his flight and then departed the zone. As a result of his superior professional skill and judgement in directing his flight into the hazardous area, only one of the four remaining aircraft received hits as they entered and departed the zone. His quick and accurate assessment of the situation and exceptional aeronautical skill contributed significantly to the successful retraction of the reconnaissance team without the loss of a single helicopter or casualties among the flight members or passengers. Captain Amis’ outstanding leadership, daring initiative, superior airmanship and loyal devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.