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Terence F. Courtney
Citation to Accompany the
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Section 8742, Title 10, United States Code, awards the Air Force Cross to Captain Terence F. Courtney for extraordinary heroism in military operations against an opposing armed force as an AC-119K Aircraft Commander at An Loc, Republic of Vietnam, on May 12, 1972. On that date, while supporting friendly forces under intense enemy fire, Captain Courtney's aircraft was struck in the right wing by antiaircraft artillery fire. Both right engines began to burn profusely, with flames trailing from the wing to the tail of the aircraft. Control of the aircraft had become so difficult that Captain Courtney had to use all his strength to maintain control. He wrapped his arms around the yoke to keep the aircraft's nose from pitching down. When he could no longer control the aircraft, he ordered his crew to bail out. Immediately after the last main bailed out, the aircraft crashed and burst into flames. As a result of Captain Courtney's conscious and deliberate decision to sacrifice his own life by remaining at the controls of his doomed aircraft, seven of his crew were recovered with only minor injuries. His courage, gallantry, intrepidity, and sense of responsibility toward his fellowmen overrode any desire or instinctive reaction for his own self-preservation. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship and aggressiveness in the face of the enemy, and in the dedication of his service to his country, Captain Courtney reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
Air Force Cross
One hundred seventy nine (179) airman were awarded the Air Force Cross during the Vietnam War
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Capt. Terence F. Courtney
Captain Courtney was the only aviator from the 71st, 17th, or 18th Special Operations Squadrons to be awarded the Air Force Cross.