Major James Edward Mason, III

Major James Edward Mason, III, retired, Searcy, US Army. Some of his awards include the Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Bronze Star Medal, for exceptionally meritorious combat achievement, the Purple Heart, two Air Medals, one with “V” device for valor, and the Army Commendation Medal.   

In January 1970, Major Mason was assigned to the 114th Aviation Company (Assault Helicopter), in the Republic of Vietnam as an Aircraft Commander of a helicopter gunship in support of ground troops.  

The narrative for his second Distinguished Flying Cross reads: “For heroism while participating in aerial flight evidenced by voluntary actions above and beyond-the call of duty: Captain Mason distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions while serving as the aircraft commander of a helicopter gunship in support of friendly ground forces near Chi Lang. As he arrived over the area, his aircraft became the target of intense enemy automatic weapons and anti-aircraft fire from numerous positions. With contact established with the ground forces, target attacks were initiated on the enemy. Each pass was met with enemy fire so intense that his aircraft was hit numerous times in the fuel cell. Losing vast quantities of fuel, Captain Mason, rather than seek a secure airfield, continued to brave the enemy fire and place his rockets on the enemy with devastating accuracy. Pass after pass was made on the advancing enemy until still more hits in his aircraft made prolonged flight impossible. Reluctantly, he was forced to break station in search of a secure area. Finding a secure rice paddy, he landed his riddled aircraft and immediately assured that no further damage had resulted. Due to Captain Mason's highly skilled and superior flying ability, coupled with his daring courage and bravery, the ground forces were able to take the offensive and mount a counterattack that resulted in the over running of the enemy. His actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.”