Patrick G. Owen Back

The President of the United States takes great pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to First Lieutenant Patrick G. Owen for heroism and extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight while serving with Marine Light Helicopter Squadron 367, Marine Aircraft Group Sixteen, First Marine Aircraft Wing in connection with combat operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On 11 September 1970, First Lieutenant Owen launched as Co-Pilot aboard the lead aircraft in a flight of four AG-1G Cobra helicopters assigned the mission of supporting the insertion of a friendly force into a mountainous area deep in enemy-controlled territory in a sector which was heavily defended by numerous enemy anti-aircraft weapon sites. Despite the difficulty of navigating his aircraft over the unfamiliar mountainous terrain under a low ceiling, which exposed his flight to hostile automatic weapons fire en route, he arrived over the designated area and quickly located the landing zone. Undaunted by the intensity of the enemy fire directed at his gunship, several rounds of which damaged his Cobra, First Lieutenant Owen boldly delivered such effective fire during repeated rocket and strafing runs that the hostile fire was suppressed sufficiently to enable the transport helicopters to insert the ground force and depart from the hazardous area. Upon receipt of an emergency mission to support the medical evacuation of several wounded men from the heavily engaged friendly unit on 13 September, he again navigated his aircraft to the beleaguered force and provided such accurate and effective fire during repeated strafing runs that the casualties were safely extracted. After one of the transports was seriously damaged by hostile fire, as it lifted out of the landing zone and was forced to land in a nearby open area, First Lieutenant Owen delivered such accurate fire that he silenced the hostile fire and enabled the downed crew to be extracted. The following day, he again provided such outstanding cover for the transport helicopters that the remainder of the friendly ground force was safely extracted. First Lieutenant Owen’s courage, superior airmanship, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of great personal danger were instrumental in accomplishing the hazardous mission and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.