Maxwell Air Force Base Gunter Annex in Montgomery County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
Award of Air Force Cross to Donald G. Smith
The Air Force Cross
Donald G. Smith
Technical Sergeant Donald G. Smith distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force as a Rescue Specialist of an HH-3E Rescue Helicopter in Southeast Asia on 24 October 1969. On that date, Sergeant Smith voluntarily descended to the surface on a forest penetrator to assist a downed pilot. As he and the pilot were being raised, hostile fire rendered the hoist inoperative and the cable was sheared, dropping them fifteen feet to the ground. Sergeant Smith's position was surrounded by hostile forces and his helicopter was downed by hostile fire. Remaining exceptionally calm, his resolute and decisive presence encouraged the other survivors, while his resourcefulness in controlling and directing the aircraft providing suppressive fire, resulted in the safe recovery of all downed personnel. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of the enemy, Sergeant Smith reflected the highest credit
Erected 2006 by Maxwell-Gunter GNCOA Class 06-06.
Topics and series. This memorial is listed in this topic list: War, Vietnam. In addition, it is included in the Distinguished Service Cross/Navy Cross/Air Force Cross Recipients series list.
Location. 32° 24.26′ N, 86° 14.974′ W. Marker is in Maxwell Air Force Base Gunter Annex, Alabama, in Montgomery County. Memorial can be reached from the intersection of McDonald Street and Avenue D. Located at the USAF Senior NCO Academy at the Gunter Annex and requires base access. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 550 McDonald St, Montgomery AL 36114, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Award of Air Force Cross to Charles D. King (here, next to this marker); Award of Air Force Cross to Leroy M. Wright (here, next to this marker); Award of Air Force Cross to Theodore M. Hamlin (here, next to this marker); Award of Air Force Cross to Michael E. Fish (here, next to this marker); Award of Air Force Cross to Charles L. Schaub (here, next to this marker); Award of Air Force Cross to Charles D. McGrath (here, next to this marker); Award of Air Force Cross to Joel E. TalleyAward of Air Force Cross to Victor R. Adams (here, next to this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Maxwell Air Force Base Gunter Annex.
Regarding Award of Air Force Cross to Donald G. Smith. On Oct. 24, 1969, the crew of the 37th ARRS HH-3 Jolly Green 28, including pararescueman TSgt. Donald G. Smith, set out to retrieve two F-100 crewmen. When they located the fighter crew in the jungle, Smith was lowered to the ground, where he attached himself and the pilot, who had a broken leg, to the hoist. As they were being lifted, hostile fire damaged the external hoist mount, forcing the flight engineer to sever the cable, sending Smith and the pilot hurtling to the ground. Jolly 28 was forced to make an emergency landing about 1.5 miles away in a marshy area. The chopper’s remaining crew members were immediately picked up by a companion HH-3. Despite injury, Smith cared for the fighter crew, directed air assaults against the enemy, and repelled enemy probes for several hours, until another rescue chopper successfully extracted him and the pilot.
Credits. This page was last revised on July 16, 2023. It was originally submitted on June 28, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 439 times since then and 8 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on June 28, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.