Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
Award of Air Force Cross to William H. Pitsenbarger
The Air Force Cross
William H. Pitsenbarger
Airman First Class William H. Pitsenbarger distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force near Cam My, Republic of Vietnam, on 11 April 1966. On that date, Airman Pitsenbarger was a Rescue and Survival Specialist aboard a helicopter engaged in the evacuation of American casualties in a dense jungle. With complete disregard for personal safety, Airman Pitsenbarger voluntarily rode a rescue hoist more than one hundred feet to the ground and organized and coordinated rescue efforts at the scene. During the rescue operation, he
Erected 2004 by Maxwell-Gunter AFSNCOA Class 04-C.
Topics. This memorial is listed in these topic lists: Air & Space • War, Vietnam.
Location. 32° 24.253′ N, 86° 14.965′ W. Marker is in Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, in Montgomery County. Memorial can be reached from the intersection of McDonald Street and Avenue D. Located at the USAF Senior NCO Academy on Gunter AFB and requires base access. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 550 McDonald Street, 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 Russell M. Hunt (here, next to this marker); Award of Air Force Cross to Duane D. Hackney (here, next to this marker); Award of Air Force Cross to William A. Robinson (here, next to this marker); Award of Air Force Cross to Arthur N. Black (here, Award of Air Force Cross to Eugene L. Clay (here, next to this marker); Award of Air Force Cross to Larry W. Maysey (here, next to this marker); Award of Air Force Cross to Dennis M. Richardson (a few steps from this marker); Award of Air Force Cross to Richard L. Etchberger (a few steps from this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Maxwell Air Force Base.
Regarding Award of Air Force Cross to William H. Pitsenbarger. On April 11, 1966, near Cam My, South Vietnam, A1C William H. Pitsenbarger, 38th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron pararescue jumper, sacrificed his life to save nine others. While evacuating American casualties during a firefight in a jungle area, he descended from the HH-43 Huskie to assist in rescue efforts.
He was initially posthumously awarded the Air Force Cross, which was later upgraded to the Medal of Honor. He was the first enlisted recipient of the Air Force Cross medal, receiving the award in 1966. On December 8, 2000, his father and his wife accepted the Medal of Honor from Secretary of the Air Force. During the same ceremony he was also posthumously promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant.
The United States Navy Container Ship MV A1C William H. Pitsenbarger (T-AK 4638) was christened in his honor. The ship prepositioned Air Force ammunition at sea near potential war or contingency sites. It has since been decommissioned and returned to its owner in 2008.
Also see . . .
1. Wikipedia article on William H. Pitsenbarger. (Submitted on June 29, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
2. Pitsenbarger's memorial page on The Virtual Wall. (Submitted on June 29, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
Credits. This page was last revised on March 20, 2020. It was originally submitted on June 29, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 468 times since then and 35 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on June 29, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. 5. submitted on April 19, 2018, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.