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Michael S. Eustis


Silver Star

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Awarded for actions during the S.S. Mayaguez Incident

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to First Lieutenant Michael S. Eustis, United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action on 15 May 1975 as the Artillery Liaison Officer with Battalion Landing Team, Second Battalion, Ninth Marines while engaged in the recovery of S.S. MAYAGUEZ which had been seized in the Gulf of Thailand by units of the Cambodian Navy. While participating in the assault operation of Koh Tang Island, the helicopter in which First Lieutenant Eustis was riding was hit by a heavy volume of enemy fire and crashed into the shallow water just off the beach. As the burning wreckage lay in the water, First Lieutenant Eustis began evacuating the trapped team from the aircraft until it exploded and threw him into the water. Recovering quickly, he noticed the severely wounded pilot struggling to escape the still burning helicopter. Although wounded himself, First Lieutenant Eustis came to the pilot's aid and pulled him away from the burning wreckage and the ground fire coming from the island. Sensing the anger of their position under the intense enemy fire and with only two life preservers available for the nine survivors, he made a float with his trousers and assisted others in doing the same. This allowed the party to clear the danger zone and kept them afloat for three and a half hours until their rescue. By his daring actions, resolute determination, and inspiring leadership, First Lieutenant Eustis instilled the will to survive in the others; thereby reflecting great credit upon himself, the Marine Corps, and the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: Authority: Honor the Warrior

Action Date: 15-May-75

Service: Marine Corps

Rank: First Lieutenant

Company: Battalion Landing Team

Battalion: 2d Battalion

Regiment: 9th Marines