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John Nyder Denham

Home of record: Lander New York

AWARDS AND CITATIONS

Silver Star

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Awarded for actions during the S.S. Mayaguez Incident

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Lieutenant Colonel John Nyder Denham, United States Air Force, for gallantry in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force on Koh Tang Island in the Gulf of Thailand on 15 May 1975. On that date, Colonel Denham, Aircraft Commander of a CH-53 helicopter, successfully delivered his contingent of United States Marines to the small landing zone on the beach in spite of his aircraft being hit by heavy hostile fire. Although one engine was operative and his aircraft severely damaged, he managed to maintain control of his aircraft before having to ditch into the sea. At that time, he assisted his co-pilot in inflating his life preserver. After his rescue by another helicopter, he assisted them in successfully accomplishing their mission. This courageous action aided in the recovery of the SS MAYAGUEZ and its crew. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Colonel Denham has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

General Orders: Headquarters, Pacific Air Forces, Special Order GB-0158 (August 6, 1975)

Action Date: 15-May-75

Service: Air Force

Rank: Lieutenant Colonel

Distinguished Flying Cross

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 2, 1926, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Lieutenant Colonel John Nyder Denham, United States Air Force, for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight in the Republic of South Vietnam, from 19 April 1975 to 2 May 1975. During this period, Colonel Denham displayed exemplary skill and outstanding airmanship in the face of hostile fire during extended hours of flight under substandard night weather conditions to evacuate the American Ambassador, American citizens and other foreign nationals from the besieged city of Saigon. Colonel Denham's perseverance in operating his CH-53 on numerous sorties from an unfamiliar aircraft carrier environment into dimly illuminated landing zones was a major factor in the return of more than 7,000 men, women and children from a life or death situation to waiting rescue ships. The professional competence, aerial skill, and devotion to duty displayed by Lieutenant Colonel Denham reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Action Date: April 19 - May 2, 1975

Service: Air Force

Rank: Lieutenant Colonel