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Enlisted Combat Aircrew Roll of Honor
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Combat AirCrew Wings

Combat AirCrew Wings     Combat AirCrew Wings


"In lasting recognition of the gallantry and self-sacrifice displayed by the many Enlisted Combat Aircrewmen who teamed with their pilots, in whom they entrusted their fate, to engage the enemy in the air, on land and on the sea, no matter the odds. . . ."

Combat Aircrew Roll of Honor Plaque
Patriots Point

Alphabetical Order
Clayborn W. ASHBY
Killed In Action
Combat AirCrew Wings

Year: 2010
Kerry R. BIGNALL
Combat AirCrew Wings

Year: 1999
Anthony BISSELL
Combat AirCrew Wings

Year: 2000
Raymond A. BRALEY
Combat AirCrew Wings

Year: 2010
Thomas D. CLARK
Combat AirCrew Wings

Year: 2002
Chester L. COONS
Killed In Action
Combat AirCrew Wings

Year: 2010
Frank A. DAWSON
Killed In Action
Combat AirCrew Wings

Year: 2010
Richard E. DeCUIR
Combat AirCrew Wings

Year: 2010
Paul N. DONATO
Killed In Action
Combat AirCrew Wings

Year: 2010
Kenneth E. DWELLE
Combat AirCrew Wings

Year: 2010
William G. GRAYSON
Combat AirCrew Wings

Year: 2010
John F. HARTZHEIM
Killed In Action
Combat AirCrew Wings

Year: 2010
Robert M. JACOBS
Combat AirCrew Wings

Year: 2010
Parnelle JONES
Combat AirCrew Wings

Year: 2010
Richard M. MANCINI
Killed In Action
Combat AirCrew Wings

Year: 2010
James E. MARTIN
Killed In Action
Combat AirCrew Wings

Year: 2010
Robert E. REYNOLDS
Combat AirCrew Wings

Year: 2010
Michael L. ROBERTS
Killed In Action
Combat AirCrew Wings

Year: 2010
Gale R. SIOW
Killed In Action
Combat AirCrew Wings

Year: 2010
DAVID J. STEFFY
Combat AirCrew Wings

Year: 2010
Joseph F. TEODORCZYK
Combat AirCrew Wings

Year: 2010
Donald N. THORESEN
Killed In Action
Combat AirCrew Wings

Year: 2010
Frank E. TOWNSEND
Combat AirCrew Wings

Year: 2010
Michael A. WALKER
Combat AirCrew Wings

Year: 2010
Kenneth H. WIDON
Killed In Action
Combat AirCrew Wings

Year: 2010
Edward J. WITT, Jr.
Combat AirCrew Wings

Year: 2000
Andrew G. ZDEBSKI
Combat AirCrew Wings

Year: 2002
 
USS Yorktown (CV-10)
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VO-67

"A Navy Combat Aircrewmens Creed"

I am a naval enlisted Aircrewman, member of a combat team.
My pilot and crewmates place their trust in me and I in them.
I will care for my plane, its guns, engines and structural integrity as I care for my life.

With help from an expert ground crew we will field a mean airborne
fighting machine capable of defending our way of life.
I will use my skills to protect my pilot and fellow crew members to the absolute limit of my ability.

I will uphold the fighting spirit of the United States Navy
and those who have gone before me to defend freedom and democracy around the world.
I will uphold the values of honor, courage and commitment.
So help me God.

Enlisted Combat Aircrew Roll Of Honor Requirements

ADJ2 Kerry Bignall
Combat AirCrew Wings

Kerry Bignall Circa 1967Kerry Bignall, VO-67 Crew 6, was officially inducted into the Enlisted Combat Air Crew Roll of Honor on 12 November, 1999, aboard the USS Yorktown (CV-10). The Yorktown has been designated as part of the Naval and Maritime Museum at Patriots Point in Charleston, SC.

On Thursday evening, 11 November, a get acquainted dinner reception was held for all inductees and officials. AT 10:00 a.m. on Friday morning, some 450 people gathered in Hanger Bay 2 of the Yorktown for the induction ceremony.

RADM James H Flatley III USN (RET), CEO of Patriots Point, was the Master of Ceremony for the event. VADM Richard C. Allen USN (RET) awarded the plaques as each of the inductees was called up to the podium. Forty Six of the 82 inductees participated in the ceremony. Some of the inductees were unable to attend and others were awarded posthumously.

Kerry Bignall was the first Navy Vietnam War air crewman to be inducted into the Roll of Honor. Two Marines from the Vietnam War were also inducted this year with Kerry.

Navy Aviation News Article
Pictured in the photo below left to right: Alexander McCormick MSGT USAF (Ret), Melvin R Schultz CAPT USNR (Ret) & Kerry Bignall

At the beginning of the ceremony, RADM Flatley gave a short speech about the history of the Roll of Honor. He noted that at this ceremony they were inducting the first Navy air crewman from the Vietnam War into the Roll of Honor. He did not mention in his remarks who the air crewman was or his squadron.

Kerry was the second inductee to be called up to the podium. RADM Flatley introduced Kerry and stated that he was from VO-67 which was a top-secret squadron implanting electronic sensors during 1967-1968.

Kerry related the following conversation after the induction:

Both RADM Flatley and VADM Allen approached me after the ceremony and asked about VO-67. RADM Flatley stated that he had spent three tours in Vietnam and had never heard of the squadron. I told him that few in the Navy or anywhere else for that matter ever had knowledge of the existence of VO-67.

I went on to tell the admiral that the squadron needed help finding lost shipmates and families and that we would provide him with the official history of VO-67 along with a copy of Wings of Gold Over The Ho Chi Minh Trail, the story of VO-67 written by our VO-67 Operations Officer, CDR Gire.


Navy Aviation News Article
Pictured in the photo below left to right: Vadm Allen, Tony Bissell, Kerry Bignall, & Radm Flatley

I made a copy of Wings of Gold… available for the admiral and told him the official history would be sent. RADM Flatley said that he would review our history and see what he could do to promote a course of action for the enlisted crewmen to be inducted into the Roll of Honor and to bring recognition to VO-67.

VADM Allen, who is the President of the ANA magazine, also said he would be willing to help us through the magazine. A copy of Wings of Gold… and the history were also sent to him. Everyone, from the admirals to the inductees and their families, were very respectful and said they were honored to be introduced to someone from such an elite squadron that they never knew existed.

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AO2 Clayborn W. Ashby
Killed In Action
Combat AirCrew Wings

AO2 Clayborn W. AshbyCrew-5 Gunner - Clay was a well liked member of the Crew-5 Road Runners. He told his Mother that he wanted to go to Vietnam and fight and he did. Clay was the senior gunner on the Road Runner crew and he constantly trained the less experienced gunners. He could take apart and assemble just about any weapon VO-67 used blind folded. I true professional and all around good guy. Lost with his crew in combat February 17, 1968 in Savannaket Province, Laos while implanting sensors at very low level. Clay was repatriated in 1994 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

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ATR3 Anthony Bissell
Combat AirCrew Wings
Navy Aviation News Article
ATR3 Anthony Bissell is pictured kneeling, second from the left, with members of Combat Aircrew 6, VO-67.

Anthony Bissell, ATR3, Combat Aircrew 6, was inducted into the ENLISTED COMBAT AIRCREW ROLL OF HONOR in a ceremony held on the USS Yorktown (CV-10) at Patriots Point, SC on Veteran's Day 2000. The honor was bestowed 32 years after the squadron, Observation Squadron Sixty Seven (VO-67), was disestablished. Tony flew many combat missions as a radioman, later earning him an Air Medal

VO-67 Award

"Anthony Bissell of Great Falls is presented with the Navy Air Medal at the Navy recruiting office in Kalispell. Pinning on the award is retired Navy Commander Alex Alexander of Whitefish."

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AX1 Ray Braley
Combat AirCrew Wings

AX1 Ray BraleyAX1 Raymond Braley is seen standing second from left with his crew in 1968. Ray was handpicked by the VO-67 Skipper , Captain Sharp, for his leadership and electronic skills. He spent a lot of time on the rear guns on the many low level missions in the Mud River area of Laos. Ray completed many missions in support of the Marine fire base at Khe Sanh during the 1968 Tet Offensive. He was officially inducted into the ROH on November 5, 2010.

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Tom Clark and Andrew Zdebski
Combat AirCrew Wings

On 14/15 November at Patriots Point, Mt. Pleasant, SC. Two VO-67 Enlisted Air Crewmen. Petty Officer TOM CLARK (Crew Six) and Petty Officer ANDREW ZDEBSKI (Crew 7) attended the evening social on the 14th and at 10 AM on the 15th both were Honored with their induction into the Enlisted Combat Aircrew Roll of Honor for serving with Distinction while flying as Crew members with Observation Squadron 67. Many family members were in attendance to see them Inducted.

After the Induction Ceremonies, Both Inductees were invited to attend and be included in an Annual Memorial ceremony held on the grounds by the Seawolves of Helicopter Attack (Light) Sqd Three, Navy Helicopter Gunships who flew in Vietnam from 1966 to 1972.

Prior to Petty Officer Clark, who read the names of the VO-67 Warriors Killed In Action and Petty Officer Zdebski tolling the Bell. Senior Chief Rutledge a Door Gunner from the Seawolves read the following.

Today we are joined by the two VO-67 Enlisted Combat Aircrew Roll of Honor Inductees to Honor their fallen Brothers. Petty Officers Tom Clark and Andrew Zdebski. VO-67 as we, were not known due to the Covert nature of their operations and only in recent years were declassified. These brave Warriors flew in OP2E Neptunes, a reconfigured and armed Navy Subchaser out of Thailand over the dreaded Ho Chi Minh Trail. Using their weapons and Sensors they helped stopped the flow of supplies, weapons and enemy troops into South Vietnam. These brave flight crews helped in saving friendly lives and possibly many of our own.

At the siege of Khe Sanh it is written if not for the Heroism of the crews of VO-67, twice as many US Marines would have been killed or wounded. The Squadron lost three aircraft and 20 men Killed in a little over one month. (At this time Petty Officers Clark and Zdebski were called forward to read the KIA names and tolling of the bell).

VO-67 History Thumbnail
Tap To Enlarge


AE2 Tom Clark crew 6 reading the names of VO-67 KIAs at Memorial in Patriots Point SC.

VO-67 History Thumbnail
Tap To Enlarge


Petty Officer Andrew Zdebski Tolling the bell As Clark Reads the Names.

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ADJ2 Chester L. Coons
Killed In Action
Combat AirCrew Wings

ADJ2 Chester L. CoonsCrew-5 Road Runner Enlisted Plane Captain - Chester was a great leader to the enlisted and officers of his crew alike. Always meticulous in the preparation of his aircraft he was a true professional. Chester, known as "Jets" to his shipmates, was lost in combat with Crew-5 on February 17, 1968 in the Savannakhet province of Laos. Repatriated in 1994 he is listed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Panel 39E Row 69 and is interred at Arlington National Cemetery with eight members of his crew.

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ADJAN Frank A. Dawson
Killed In Action
Combat AirCrew Wings

ADJAN Frank A. DawsonFrank served as a gunner on Crew-5. He was perhaps the youngest member on the Road Runner crew. He was lost in combat in Laos during a low level mission while he and his crew were implanting sensors in the heavily defended area of Muang Phin. He was repatriated in 1993 and is interred at Arlington National Cemetery. Frank has no known family and was originally from Fairfield , California.

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ATN3 Richard DeCuir
Combat AirCrew Wings

ATN3 Richard DeCuirATN3 Richard DeCuir is pictured standing top row left with Combat Aircrew-2, VO-67 in 1968 at Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Force base. Rich was handpicked by the XO to serve on his crew. He received numerous awards and both Gold and Silver aircrew wings while serving in VO-67. Rich was inducted into the ROH on November 5, 2010 aboard the USS Yorktown in Charleston, SC.

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ATN1 Paul N. Donato
Killed In Action
Combat AirCrew Wings

ATN1 Paul N. DonatoPaul joined the VO-67 squadron at a time when it was well known that being an aircrewman in this brave assembly of men in attempting a never before mission was as dangerous as it gets. He could have been a ground pounder repairing the specialized electronic equipment on base but choose to pull a little rank and get a aircrew billet with Crew-5. He wanted to fight and make a difference. Paul was quickly welcomed onto the crew for his professional skills and dedication to the mission. He was lost with his crew in combat while implanting sensors on February 17, 1968 in Laos. His name appears on the Vietnam Veterans Wall Panel 39 E Row 70.

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AE2 Ken Dwelle
Combat AirCrew Wings

AE2 Ken DwelleKen Dwelle is pictured with his Crew-8 , third from right kneeling. He was inducted into the Enlisted Combat Roll of Honor on November 5, 2010 aboard the USS Yorktown. Ken took great pride in his aircraft and crew. Known for his outstanding sense of humor Ken always kept his crew loose, relaxed and ready for action aft of the wing beam. He received both gold and silver aircrew wings while serving with VO-67. Ken and his crew flew many missions in defense of the Marine fire base at Khe Sanh, South Vietnam, during the 1968 Tet Offensive.

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AOC William Grayson
Combat AirCrew Wings

AOC William GraysonChief Bill Grayson was handpicked by his OPC Commander Bruce Brown. Bill and Bruce had served together prior to VO-67 being commissioned. Serving as aft M-60 gunner on Crew-4 Bill's other duty was to make sure that the sensors departed the aircraft at the precise time. Crew-4 never had a sensor hang-up during its many combat missions into Laos and Vietnam. AOC Grayson was inducted into the "Enlisted Roll of Honor" aboard the USS Yorktown on November 5, 2010, forty two years after the squadron was decommissioned.

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ATN2 John F. Hartzheim
Killed In Action
Combat AirCrew Wings

ATN2 John F. HartzheimVietnam Veterans Memorial - Panel 41 E Row 49 - In a squadron of 300 men John was known to everyone. A truly super guy who always had a smile on his face and a contagious laugh. Eager to be involved in every mission his VO-67 Crew-7 was assigned. He served as gunner and electronic tech. John's brave deeds will never be forgotten by those who had the honor to fly and fight with him.

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ADJ3 Robert Jacobs (Jake)
Combat AirCrew Wings

ADJ3 Robert JacobsJake is pictured with his crew , front row left. Jake served as second mech / gunner on Crew-10 known as the "Back Stabbing Lizards". Jake and his crew entered the HARD AIR countless times in Laos and Vietnam implanting sensors at very low levels along the Ho Chi Minh trail and in support of the Marine base at Khe Sanh during the 1968 Tet Offensive. Jake was inducted into the " Enlisted Combat Aircrew Roll Of Honor" aboard the USS Yorktown on November 5, 2010.

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ADR2 Parnelle Jones
Combat AirCrew Wings

ADR2 Parnelle JonesServing as Enlisted Plane Captain of Crew-9, The Green Garudas, Parnell was a true leader. Instrumental in aiding his pilot and co-pilot save the aircraft and crew during a runaway, uncontrollable prop emergency midway through a combat mission over Laos. Quote from Commander Nordhill, "I can't praise Parnell's brave actions enough for what he did that day at the risk of his own well being". A great example of the Roll of Honor proclamation, "I Entrust My Fate".

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AE2 Richard M. Mancini
Killed In Action
Combat AirCrew Wings

AE2 Richard M. ManciniAs a crew-2 EMC/ Gunner, Richard proved to be one of the most accurate when putting the aft mounted M-60 machine gun through its paces. Handpicked by the squadron XO, CDR Olson, for his knowledge of all the electrical systems on the OP-2E aircraft, Richard was a double asset to the crew. He served ten years in the Navy before joining the volunteer unit, VO-67. All around nice guy and dedicated to the men he faced combat with.

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AEAN James E. Martin
Killed In Action
Combat AirCrew Wings

AEAN James E. MartinGunner Crew-5 Road Runner - James was an accomplished gunner aboard the OP-2E gunship. He flew many missions before he was lost with his crew in combat near Muang Phin, Laos. His name appears on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall panel 39E row 74. James home of record is Salt Lake City, Utah.

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ATN3 Robert E. Reynolds (Dusty)
Combat AirCrew Wings

ATN3 Robert E. ReynoldsBob served as electronic tech/ gunner onboard the OP-2E gunship with the Crew-5 Road Runners. He was officially inducted into the "Navy Enlisted Combat Roll of Honor" aboard the carrier USS Yorktown, November 5, 2010 in Charleston South Carolina. He received his gold aircrew wings while serving with VO-67 and along with other qualified members of VO-67, the "Silver Combat Aircrew Wings" for missions in support of the Khe Sanh Marine fire base during the 1968 Tet offense.

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AO2 Michael Land Roberts
Killed In Action
Combat AirCrew Wings

AO2 Michael Land RobertsOrdnance/Gunner Crew-2 - Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall - Panel 34E Row31 - Lost in combat while serving his country January 11, 1968. A highly skilled ordanceman Michael volunteered for transfer to VO-67 while serving in VP-2.

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ATN3 Gale R. Siow
Killed In Action
Combat AirCrew Wings

ATN3 Gale R. SiowVietnam Veterans Memorial - 34E Row31 - A Native American from the Hopi/Laguna people. Know as " Little Beaver" to his shipmates, Gale was a gentle warrior. Killed in action with Crew-2 during service to his country he is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Caretaker of Airman "Snoopy Seagrams", crew mascot puppy who was lost with the crew.

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ATR2 Dave Steffy
Combat AirCrew Wings

ATR2 Dave SteffyDave Steffy was officially inducted into the "Enlisted Combat Aircrew Roll of Honor aboard the USS YORKTOWN (CV 10) Museum at Patriots Point, South Carolina on November 5, 2010. This recognition came 42 years after Observation Squadron Sixty-Seven (VO-67) was disestablished. Dave served as a combat aircrew member of Crew-9, "The Green Garudas ". He served as radioman and rear window gunner flying many low level missions over the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos and Vietnam.

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AX2 Joseph Teodorczyk
Combat AirCrew Wings

AX2 Joseph TeodorczykJoe served on both the Crew-5 "The Road Runners" and later Crew-12, " The Dirty Dozen". He held crew positions as Radioman, Second Tech and Gunner during his tour with VO-67. Joe was a very skilled aircrewman. He also flew many patrols in Vietnam with VP-2 during the Market Time coastal surveillance missions in Vietnam. Joe received both gold and silver aircrew wings while serving with VO-67. He was inducted into the Enlisted Combat Roll of Honor aboard the USS Yorktown November 5, 2010..

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ADJ2 Donald N. Thoresen
Killed In Action
Combat AirCrew Wings

ADJ2 Donald N. ThoresenHandpicked by the VO-67 XO for his knowledge of the P-2 Neptune, Don was always ready to fly into danger to complete a mission. While serving in Patrol Squadron 9 (VP-9) he volunteered for the newly formed ultra secret squadron VO-67. Leader of the enlisted men on Crew-2 he commanded respect from the entire crew by leading by example. He and his crew were lost in combat January 11, 1968 while implanting sensors in Laos along the Ho Chi Minh trail. He is interred at Arlington National Cemetery.

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ADR2 Frank E. Townsend
Combat AirCrew Wings
Navy Aviation News Article
Frank E. Townsend, is pictured kneeling third from right, with members of his Crew-3.

Every squadron has it's " In House Heroes " , Frank Townsend is one of these. A particular mission late in the VO-67 deployment was deemed as dangerous as they get. This mission called for a very long string of ADSIDS to be implanted over Tchepone in Laos, which was the hottest AAA gun area on the Ho Chi Minh Trail at the time. The mission would require a two minute and 48 second constant heading and airspeed run at 2,500 ft. A ground gunners dream. It was decided that only three members of the nine man crew would take this low survivability mission. The Pilot, Copilot and Bombardier. This did not sit well with the flight crew especially Frank. The following day Frank approached his plane Commander and stated, "Commander, with all due respect , I'm going on that mission!" Frank then delivered a well rehearsed speech on how he was needed in case of system failures or battle damage repair. Commander Gire again explained how dangerous the mission would be and the low odds of coming back. Townsend again stated, Commander, I'm going. Commander Gire relented and Plane Captain Townsend was allowed to go. The mission was completed without any direct hits on the aircraft from AAA gun fire. This esprit de corps existed in every VO-67 flight crew. ADR-2 Frank E. Townsend embodies the "Enlisted Roll of Honor " creed, " I Entrust My Fate ".

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AE Michael Walker
Combat AirCrew Wings

AE Michael WalkerMike Walker was the designated leader aft of the wing beam in the famous Crew-9 " Green Garudas". His commander could always count on Mike to keep the troops in the back calm during the most hectic of times. He remained cool under fire and had complete control and knowledge of is M-60. Mike was inducted into the Roll of Honor aboard the USS Yorktown November 5, 2010 in Charleston , South Carolina.

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PH2 Kenneth H. Widon
Killed In Action
Combat AirCrew Wings

ATN3 Gale R. SiowVietnam Veterans Memorial - Panel 34E Row 33 - Ken loved to play the violin, ukulele and fire the M-60 machine gun. As a Photographer's mate Ken fought his way into a window gunner position with Crew-2. Ken and his crew were lost in combat January 11, 1968 in eastern Laos. Ken was repatriated and buried at Arlington National Cemetery in 2004.

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AFCM Edward J. Witt, Jr.
Combat AirCrew Wings
Navy Aviation News Article
AFCM Edward J. Witt, Jr., is pictured kneeling, third from right, with members of VO-67 - From Naval Aviation News May-June 2001

Retired Master Chief Aviation Machinist’s Mate (Reciprocating Engine) Edward J. Witt was inducted into the Enlisted Combat Aircrew Roll of Honor aboard the YORKTOWN (CV 10) Museum at Patriots Point, S.C., on Veterans Day 2000. The honor came 32 years after his Observation Squadron (VO) 67 was disestablished. The squadron’s mission consisted of dropping listening devices and sensors to alert U.S. forces of enemy truck convoys coming down the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Once a convoy was found, an airstrike was called. Because of the squadron’s heroic measures, Army reports showed VC truck kills more than tripled.

Witt flew 25 combat missions with VO-67, earning two Air Medals in a seven-month period. Later as part of VQ-1, he earned two additional Air Medals for combat support missions. Today, Witt works as a civilian supervisor at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington.

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