Pilot to get Medal of Honor for Vietnam actions
WASHINGTON — A Vietnam veteran who flew his unarmed helicopter into heavy combat to drop supplies and evacuate wounded troops will be honored with the Medal of Honor later this month, White House officials announced Friday.
Bruce Crandall, an Army helicopter pilot, will receive the nation’s highest military honor for wartime valor from President Bush during a Feb. 26 ceremony. The award is for his actions in November 1965, when the then-major served with the Company A 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion.
According to military records, Crandall and then-Capt. Ed Freeman volunteered to fly UH-1 Hueys into battle in the Ia Drang Valley after military commanders deemed the area too dangerous for aircraft.
The men spent more than 14 hours evacuating wounded soldiers and resupplying the fighting force with ammunition and rations. Army officials credited them with saving more than 70 soldiers through their actions.
Crandall retired from the Army in 1977 as a lieutenant colonel. He lives in Manchester, Wash.
Crandall was a major force in getting a Medal of Honor awarded to Freeman for that day; Freeman received his medal in 2001.
Both men were portrayed in the 2002 movie “We Were Soldiers.” Crandall was played by Greg Kinnear.
This will be the eighth Medal of Honor awarded by President Bush. Last month, Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham was posthumously awarded the honor for his actions in Iraq.
Crandall also will be honored in an Army ceremony at the Pentagon on Feb. 27.
In addition to the new medal, Crandall already holds the Distinguished Service Cross, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and 24 other air medals.
From the Army