Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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Vietnam War - U.S. Air Force

James Phillip Fleming

  • Rank: Captain (rank at time of action: First Lieutenant; highest rank: Colonel)
  • Conflict/Era: Vietnam War
  • Unit/Command:
    20th Special Operations Squadron,
    United States Air Force
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Air Force
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: November 26, 1968
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: near Duc Co, Republic of Vietnam

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Capt. Fleming (then 1st Lt.) distinguished himself as the aircraft commander of a UH-1F transport helicopter. Capt. Fleming went to the aid of a six-man Special Forces long-range reconnaissance patrol that was in danger of being overrun by a large, heavily armed hostile force. Despite the knowledge that one helicopter had been downed by intense hostile fire, Capt. Fleming descended, and balanced his helicopter on a river bank with the tail boom hanging over open water. The patrol could not penetrate to the landing site and he was forced to withdraw. Dangerously low on fuel, Capt. Fleming repeated his original landing maneuver. Disregarding his own safety, he remained in this exposed position. Hostile fire crashed through his windscreen as the patrol boarded his helicopter. Capt. Fleming made a successful takeoff through a barrage of hostile fire and recovered safely at a forward base. Capt. Fleming's profound concern for his fellow men, at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Air Force and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.

Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Pullman, Whitman County, Washington
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Presentation Date & Details: May 14, 1970

    The White House, presented by Pres. Richard M. Nixon

  • Born: March 12, 1943, Sedalia, Pettis County, MO, United States

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