Jon Edward Swanson B TRP, 1ST SQD, 9TH CAV RGT, 1 CAV DIV
01 May 1942 - 26 February 1971
Born: May 01, 1942
From: Denver, Colorado
Panel 04W Line 007
Standing between daughters Brigid Swanson Jones and
Holly Walker, Sandra Swanson accepts the thanks and
praise of President George W. Bush for her husband's
sacrifice during the Vietnam War.
On 26 February 1971, Captain Jon
E. Swanson was flying an OH-6A aircraft on a close-support
reconnaissance mission in support of Army of the Republic of
Vietnam Task Force 333 conducting operations within Cambodia.
Two well-equipped enemy regiments were known to be in the area,
and Captain Swanson's mission was to pinpoint precise enemy
positions. To accomplish this mission he was required to fly
at tree-top level at a slow airspeed, thus making his aircraft
a very vulnerable target. The advancing ARVN unit came under
heavy automatic weapons fire from enemy bunkers in a treeline
approximately 100 meters to their front. Captain Swanson, completely
exposing himself to enemy anti-aircraft fire, immediately engaged
the enemy bunkers with concussion grenades and machinegun fire.
After destroying five bunkers and successfully evading
ground-to-air fire, he discovered a .51 caliber machine gun position.
He had expended his heavy ordnance on the bunkers and did not have
sufficient explosives to destroy the position. Consequently, he
marked the position with a smoke grenade and directed a Cobra gunship
attack on the position. Upon completion of the attack, he again
returned to the area to assess the battle damage. Captain Swanson
found the weapon still intact and an enemy soldier crawling over
to man it. He immediately engaged the individual and killed him.
His aircraft was then taken under fire by a second .51 caliber
machine gun position. Although his aircraft had taken several hits,
Captain Swanson engaged the position with his aircraft weapons,
marked the target, and directed a second Cobra gunship attack.
He volunteered to continue the mission despite the fact that he
was critically low on ammunition and his aircraft was crippled
from the hits it sustained. While approaching the target area,
Captain Swanson was taken under fire by yet another .51 caliber
machine gun position. In an effort to mark the position with smoke,
he again flew into the objective area. Although his aircraft was
taking heavy fire, he continued to fly to the .51 caliber position.
It was at this point that his aircraft exploded in the air and
crashed to the ground. Captain Swanson's courageous actions resulted
in at least eight enemy dead and the destruction of three enemy
anti-aircraft positions, which would have been responsible for
the destruction of many more helicopters and crews.
The acts of then
Captain Jon E. Swanson clearly distinguish him conspicuously by
gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond
the call of duty.
On May 1, 2002,
Jon's 60th birthday and the 33rd aniversary of his mother's death,
Jon was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor by President George
W. Bush .
On May 3, 2002,
Captain Jon Edward Swanson and Staff Sergeant Larry Harrison were
buried together with full honors at Arlington National Cemetery.
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