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Congressional Medal of Honor Society

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Vietnam War - U.S. Army

Jon Edward Swanson

Details
  • Rank: Captain
  • Conflict/Era: Vietnam War
  • Unit/Command:
    Troop B, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry (Airmobile),
    1st Cavalry Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: February 26, 1971
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Repuplic of Vietnam
Citation

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Captain Jon E. Swanson distinguished himself by acts of bravery on February 26 1971, while flying an OH-6A aircraft in support of ARVN Task Force 333 in the Kingdom of Cambodia. With two well-equipped enemy regiments known to be in the area., Captain Swanson was tasked with pinpointing the enemy's precise positions. Captain Swanson flew at treetop level at a slow airspeed, making his aircraft a vulnerable target. The advancing ARVN unit came under heavy automatic weapons fire from enemy bunkers 100 meters to their front. Exposing his aircraft to enemy anti-aircraft fire, Captain Swanson immediately engaged the enemy bunkers with concussion grenades and machine gun fire. After destroying five bunkers and evading intense ground-to-air fire, he observed a .51 caliber machine gun position. With all his heavy ordnance expended on the bunkers, he did not have sufficient explosives to destroy the position. Consequently, he marked the position with a smoke grenade and directed a Cobra gun ship attack. After completion of the attack, Captain Swanson found the weapon still intact and an enemy soldier crawling over to man it. He immediately engaged the individual and killed him. During this time, his aircraft sustained several hits from another .51 caliber machine gun. Captain Swanson engaged the position with his aircraft's weapons, marked the target, and directed a second Cobra gun ship attack. He volunteered to continue the mission, despite the fact that he was now critically low on ammunition and his aircraft was crippled by enemy fire. As Captain Swanson attempted to fly toward another .51 caliber machine gun position, his aircraft exploded in the air and crashed to the ground, causing his death. Captain Swanson's courageous actions resulted in at least eight enemy killed and the destruction of three enemy anti-aircraft weapons. Captain Swanson's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

Medal of Honor Recipient Jon E. Swanson
Medal of Honor Recipient Jon E. Swanson
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Denver, Denver County, Colorado
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: May 1, 2002

    The White House, Rose Garden - Presented by President George Walker Bush to his widow Mrs. Sandee Swanson

  • Born: May 1, 1942, San Antonio, Bexar County, TX, United States
  • Died: February 26, 1971, Cambodia
  • Buried: Arlington National Cemetery (MH) (60-7755), Arlington, VA, United States
 

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