Lewis C. Watt Back

The President of the United States takes great pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Captain Lewis C. Watt for heroism and extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight while serving as a Pilot with Sub Unit One, Headquarters and Maintenance Squadron Sixteen, Marine Aircraft Group Sixteen, First Marine Aircraft Wing in connection with operations against insurgent communist (Viet Cong) forces in the Republic of Vietnam. On the afternoon of 29 April 1967, Captain Watt was Section Leader of two CH-37C helicopters launched on an emergency resupply mission for the First Battalion, Fourth Marines near Con Thien. After gaining radio contact with the ground unit, he was informed that the supplies were desperately needed to sustain the Marines through the night, as they had been in contact with the enemy all day. Fully realizing that the landing zone had been under mortar fire during the day, he unhesitatingly made three trips into the hazardous zone. While proceeding to the battalion’s position on the fourth trip, Captain Watt was informed that the zone had received mortar fire again. Demonstrating exceptional presence of mind, he chose a landing site outside the Marine perimeter and, under the cover of aerial fire support from fixed wing aircraft and helicopter gunships, safely landed. As there were no Marines from the ground force nearby to assist in unloading the 4,000 pounds of cargo, his aircraft crew unloaded the supplies. Calmly waiting in the exposed zone until the unloading was completed, he lifted from the area and proceeded to Dong Ha for the remaining supplies. When he returned to the Marines’ position, Captain Watt realized that his pervious landing site was probably a mortar target. Displaying outstanding professional skill, he chose a third landing zone between the last two and skillfully landed despite intense enemy small arms and automatic weapons fire. Again his crew had to unload the vast amount of supplies which forced him to remain in the exposed area for three to five minutes. After he lifted from the zone, the Marines left their perimeter in armored vehicles and retrieved the vitally needed supplies. All five sorties were made carrying maximum loads into zones barely able to accommodate both aircraft and, as a result of his courageous efforts, the infantry battalion was able to maintain contact with the enemy through the night. Captain Watt’s superior aeronautical ability, resolute determination and selfless devotion to duty contributed significantly to the accomplishment of the mission and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.