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John James Eldridge

Home of record: Belleville Illinois

AWARDS AND CITATIONS

Silver Star

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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 8, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Technical Sergeant [then Staff Sergeant] John James Eldridge (AFSN: 18726728), United States Air Force, for gallantry in the all-volunteer Joint Chiefs of Staff directed United States Army and Air Force operation against an opposing armed force during the Prisoner of War Search and Rescue Operation at Son Tay, North Vietnam, on 21 November 1970. On that date, Sergeant Eldridge, as a Paramedic-Gunner, flew deep into the heart of enemy territory in a bold night attempt to rescue American Prisoners of War. Throughout the entire mission, he manned his position with bravery and aggressiveness while maintaining the critical fire discipline necessary for properly conducting this humanitarian operation. During the return flight, he performed a vital crew member function in the pickup of a downed fighter pilot. The personal skill and extreme courage displayed by Sergeant Eldridge in this very hazardous rescue attempt contributed immeasurably to the ultimate effectiveness and tactical success of the mission. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Sergeant Eldridge has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Action Date: 21-Nov-70

Service: Air Force

Rank: Technical Sergeant

Division: Son Tay Volunteer Task Force

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 a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Second Award of the Silver Star to Master Sergeant John James Eldridge (AFSN: 18726728), 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, Sergeant Eldridge was the Pararescue Specialist of a HH-53C helicopter which flew three sorties spanning more than fourteen hours. Sergeant Eldridge and fellow crew members placed United States Marines aboard the destroyer escort U.S.S. HOLT and then escorted a damaged aircraft to friendly territory where they recovered its contingent of the United States Marines. They then delivered a contingent of United States Marines to the island despite intensive hostile ground fire. They remained close to the island and provided protective fire for another aircraft and escorted it to safety. Later in the day, they returned to the island and again braved heavy hostile fire to successfully remove a group of United States personnel. This courageous action aided in the recovery of the S.S. MAYAGUEZ and its crew. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Sergeant Eldridge has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Action Date: 15-May-75

Service: Air Force

Rank: Master Sergeant

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 Staff Sergeant John James Eldridge (AFSN: 18726728), United States Air Force, for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as Rescue Specialist on an HH-3E rescue helicopter while assigned to the 37th Air Rescue and Recovery Squadron, DaNang Air Base, Republic of Vietnam from 30 August 1968 to 4 August 1969. During this period, Sergeant Eldridge flew extremely hazardous missions under adverse weather conditions and the constant threat of hostile ground fire. His personal bravery and energetic application of knowledge and skill resulted in the combat rescue of three downed airmen. The professional competence, aerial skill, and devotion to duty displayed by Sergeant Eldridge reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Action Date: August 30, 1968 - August 4, 1969

Service: Air Force

Rank: Staff Sergeant

Company: 37th Air Rescue and Recovery Squadron

Division: DaNang Air Base, Vietnam

Distinguished Flying Cross

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

(Citation Needed) - SYNOPSIS: Staff Sergeant John James Eldridge (AFSN: 18726728), United States Air Force, was awarded a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Second Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as Rescue Specialist on an HH-3E rescue helicopter while assigned to the 37th Air Rescue and Recovery Squadron, DaNang Air Base, Republic of Vietnam.

Action Date: Vietnam War

Service: Air Force

Rank: Staff Sergeant

Company: 37th Air Rescue and Recovery Squadron

Division: DaNang Air Base, Vietnam

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 a Second Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Third Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross to Staff Sergeant John James Eldridge (AFSN: 18726728), United States Air Force, for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as an HH-53B Pararescue Specialist, 40th Air Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Udorn Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand, on 28 December 1969. On that date, Sergeant Eldridge and his fellow crewmembers descended into a heavily defended hostile area to attempt the rescue of two downed American Airmen. Even though the area was a suspected helicopter trap and the aircraft was continually fired upon, Sergeant Eldridge continued to deliver suppressive fire to protect the helicopter and his fellow crewmembers until the rescue was successfully completed. The professional competence, aerial skill, and devotion to duty displayed by Sergeant Eldridge reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Action Date: December 28, 1969

Service: Air Force

Rank: Staff Sergeant

Company: 40th Air Rescue and Recovery Squadron

Division: Udorn Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand

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 a Third Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Fourth Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross with Combat "V" to Staff Sergeant John James Eldridge (AFSN: 18726728), United States Air Force, for heroism while participating in aerial flight as an HH-53 Pararescue Specialist in Southeast Asia on 20 March 1970. On that date, Sergeant Eldridge flew an extremely hazardous mission in an effort to rescue an American airman downed in heavily fortified hostile territory. Despite a continuing barrage of intensely accurate hostile ground fire, Sergeant Eldridge calmly relayed information on opposing gun emplacements and supplied a steady stream of suppressive fire from his own weapon. When it was reported that the survivor was injured, Sergeant Eldridge stood ready to descend on the rescue hoist to aid in the recovery of the airman. The outstanding heroism and selfless devotion to duty displayed by Sergeant Eldridge reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Action Date: March 20, 1970

Service: Air Force

Rank: Staff Sergeant

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 a Fourth Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Fifth Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross to Staff Sergeant John James Eldridge (AFSN: 18726728), United States Air Force, for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as an HH-53 Pararescue Technician in Southeast Asia on 9 January 1970. On that date, Sergeant Eldridge flew an extremely intricate and hazardous mission to affect the immediate rescue of an American airman downed in hostile territory. Sergeant Eldridge penetrated a known hostile area at night and descended on the rescue hoist through a thick layer of jungle foliation to provide medical aid and extract the injured pilot. Through his tireless perseverance and energetic application of his knowledge and skill, Sergeant Eldridge was able to pursue the rescue through to its successful completion, thus saving a fellow airman from further injury and possible capture or death. The professional competence, aerial skill, and devotion to duty displayed by Sergeant Eldridge reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Action Date: January 9, 1970

Service: Air Force

Rank: Staff Sergeant

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 a Silver Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Sixth Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross with Combat "V" to Staff Sergeant John James Eldridge (AFSN: 18726728), United States Air Force, for heroism while participating in aerial flight as an HH-53 Pararescue and Recovery Technician in Southeast Asia on 12 December 1970. On that date, Sergeant Eldridge flew an extremely hazardous mission in an effort to rescue an American pilot, downed deep within hostile territory. Completely disregarding his own safety, Sergeant Eldridge volunteered to descend to the ground by rescue hoist, in order to expedite the recovery. As he was assuming his position to be lowered into the trees, the helicopter received such intense ground fire that they lost the number one engine. Sergeant Eldridge returned immediately to his gun position, where he remained to provide suppressive fire coverage until the aircraft was well out of the hostile area. The outstanding heroism and selfless devotion to duty displayed by Sergeant Eldridge reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Action Date: December 12, 1970

Service: Air Force

Rank: Staff Sergeant

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 a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in addition to a previously awarded Silver Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Seventh Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross with Combat "V" to Staff Sergeant John James Eldridge (AFSN: 18726728), United States Air Force, for heroism while participating in aerial flight as an HH-53 Pararescue and Recovery Technician in Southeast Asia on 3 January 1971. On that date, Sergeant Eldridge flew an extremely hazardous mission in order to successfully rescue two American pilots who had been downed deep within hostile territory. Sergeant Eldridge equipped and prepared himself to descend to the ground by rescue hoist to assist the survivors in the event they were injured. Throughout the entire rescue operation Sergeant Eldridge continuously kept the aircraft commander informed of hostile ground fire positions and supplied suppressive fire coverage from his mini-gun position. The outstanding heroism and selfless devotion to duty displayed by Sergeant Eldridge reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Action Date: January 3, 1971

Service: Air Force

Rank: Staff Sergeant

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 a Second Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in addition to a previously awarded Silver Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of an Eighth Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross to Staff Sergeant John James Eldridge (AFSN: 18726728), United States Air Force, for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as a HH-53 Rescue Helicopter Pararescue and Recovery Technician in Southeast Asia on 1 November 1970. On that date, Sergeant Eldridge flew an extremely hazardous mission deep into hostile territory in the attempt to rescue an American pilot downed by hostile fire. In spite of adverse weather conditions and the constant threat of hostile ground fire, Sergeant Eldridge accomplished this highly intricate and hazardous mission in support of free world forces combating aggression., The professional competence, aerial skill, and devotion to duty displayed by Sergeant Eldridge reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Action Date: November 1, 1970

Service: Air Force

Rank: Staff Sergeant