Dwayne L. Bell

The President of the United States takes great pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Dwayne Lee Bell, Aviation Machinist’s Mate (J) Second Class, United States Navy, for heroism and extraordinary achievement in aerial flight as door gunner of a UH-1B helicopter gunship attached to Helicopter Attack (Light) Squadron Three, Detachment Seven, on 8 May 1968. Petty Officer Bell was scrambled to support South Vietnamese Popular Forces in heavy contact with an estimated Viet Cong battalion in Phung Hiep Subsector, Republic of Vietnam. The friendly units were about to break and run when the fire team arrived on the scene and began placing strikes. Petty Officer Bell leaned far out of the aircraft to deliver suppressive fire in support of the Popular Forces, with devastating results. Halfway through one run the lead ship was hit by numerous rounds, fatally wounding one crewman. During the low level run made by the wing ship to protect the stricken lead aircraft, Petty Officer Bell stood completely exposed to the hail of automatic weapons fire and delivered a great volume of accurate machine gun fire, which caused the enemy who were all around the aircraft to scatter and run. This allowed the lead ship to depart the area without further damage. Petty Officer Bell’s actions in the face of great danger were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.