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Jack Columbus Rittichier

Date of birth: August 17, 1933
Date of death: MIA: June 9, 1968
Place of Birth: Ohio, Akron
Home of record: Barberton Ohio
Status: MIA

Jack Rittichier was one of SEVEN members of the Coast Guard who were combat casualties of the Vietnam War, and the only Coast Guardsman to be classified as missing in action during the war.

AWARDS AND CITATIONS

Silver Star

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Air Force Award) (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Jack Columbus Rittichier (CGSN: 0-68068148), United States Coast Guard, for gallantry in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force while attached to the 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, United States Air Force, as rescue crew commander of an HH-3E helicopter in Southeast Asia on 9 June 1968. On that date, Lieutenant Rittichier attempted the rescue of a downed pilot from one of the most heavily defended areas in Southeast Asia. Despite intense accurate hostile fire, which had severely damaged another helicopter, Lieutenant Rittichier, with undaunted determination, indomitable courage and professional skill, established a hover and persisted in the rescue attempt until his aircraft was downed by hostile fire. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Lieutenant Rittichier reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Coast Guard.

General Orders: Headquarters, Pacific Air Forces, Special Order G-299 (December 17, 1968)

Action Date: 9-Jun-68

Service: Coast Guard

Rank: Lieutenant

Company: 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron (Attached)

Division: 7th Air Force (Attached)

Distinguished Flying Cross

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross with Combat "V" (Air Force Award) (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Jack Columbus Rittichier (CGSN: 0-68068148), United States Coast Guard, for heroism while participating in aerial flight while attached to the 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, United States Air Force. Lieutenant Rittichier distinguished himself by heroism while participating in aerial flight as Rescue Crew Copilot of an HH-3E helicopter in Southeast Asia on 21 April 1968. On that date, Lieutenant Rittichier was instrumental in the rescue of four crew members of two United States Army helicopter gunships shot down by hostile ground fire. With great determination and superior airmanship, Lieutenant RITTICHIER effected the rescue in the face of hostile ground fire. The outstanding heroism and selfless devotion to duty displayed by Lieutenant Rittichier reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Action Date: April 21, 1968

Service: Coast Guard

Rank: Lieutenant

Battalion: 37th Aerospace Rescue & Recovery Squadron (Attached)

Division: 7th Air Force (Attached)

Distinguished Flying Cross

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Second Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross with Combat "V" (Air Force Award) (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Jack Columbus Rittichier (CGSN: 0-68068148), United States Coast Guard, for heroism while participating in aerial flight while attached to the 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, United States Air Force. Lieutenant Rittichier distinguished himself by extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as Rescue Crew Copilot of an HH-3E helicopter in Southeast Asia on 2 May 1968. On that date, Lieutenant Rittichier penetrated the extremely hostile, heavily defended A Shau Valley to investigate an aircraft crash site for possible survivors or confirmation of an aircrew fatality. With great determination and superior airmanship, Lieutenant Rittichier braved numerous thunderstorms and hostile antiaircraft positions to complete this mission. The professional competence, aerial skill, and devotion to duty displayed by Lieutenant Rittichier reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Action Date: May 2, 1968

Service: Coast Guard

Rank: Lieutenant

Battalion: 37th Aerospace Rescue & Recovery Squadron (Attached)

Division: 7th Air Force (Attached)

Distinguished Flying Cross

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting a Second Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Third Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross with Combat "V" (Air Force Award) (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Jack Columbus Rittichier (CGSN: 0-68068148), United States Coast Guard, for heroism while participating in aerial flight while attached to the 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, United States Air Force. Lieutenant Rittichier distinguished himself by heroism while participating in aerial flight as an HH-3E Rescue Crew Commander near Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam, on 12 May 1968. On that date, Lieutenant Rittichier twice entered an extremely hostile area to effect the rescue of four survivors of a downed helicopter and five seriously wounded personnel. The survivors were located on an extremely small landing zone, surrounded by tall trees, on the side of a steep mountain slope. With great determination and superior airmanship, Lieutenant Rittichier executed the second approach and departure at night by flarelight even though the distress site even though the distress site was obscured by smoke and clouds. The professional competence, aerial skill, and devotion to duty displayed by Lieutenant Rittichier reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Action Date: May 12, 1968

Service: Coast Guard

Rank: Lieutenant

Battalion: 37th Aerospace Rescue & Recovery Squadron (Attached)

Division: 7th Air Force (Attached)

Air Medal

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The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting to Lieutenant Jack Columbus Rittichier (CGSN: 0-68068148), United States Coast Guard, for meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight on the afternoon of 29 November 1966 as copilot of a Coast Guard helicopter, engaged in the transfer of eight crewmen from the grounded West German Motor NORDMEER to the USCGC MACKINAW (WAGB 83). Despite heavy snow, icing, turbulence and gale force winds, Lieutenant RITTICHIER skillfully assisted in navigating the helicopter 150 miles to the vicinity of the distressed vessel grounded on Thunder Bay Island Shoal in Lake Huron. The final 80 miles of the route was flown through snow showers at 200 feet over the lake utilizing the shoreline for navigation. Upon arrival he assisted in locating the vessel and establishing communications with the crew who advised that they were stranded on the forward deck, with no power or heat and desired immediate removal. Lieutenant Rittichier aided the pilot in maneuvering the helicopter and accomplishing the hoist of the eight crewmen from the NORDMEER to the decks of the MACKINAW in less than 22 minutes. Minutes after the operation was completed, the NORDMEER broke athwartships and her decks became awash. Lieutenant Rittichier displayed expert airmanship throughout this perilous mission. His initiative, skill, sound judgment and unwavering devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Coast Guard.

Action Date: November 29, 1966

Service: Coast Guard

Rank: Lieutenant

Air Medal

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Second Award of the Air Medal (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Jack Columbus Rittichier (CGSN: 0-68068148), United States Coast Guard, for meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight on 4 May 1968 while attached to the 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, United States Air Force. Lieutenant Rittichier distinguished himself by meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight as Rescue Crew Commander of an HH-3E helicopter in Southeast Asia on 4 May 1968. On that date, Lieutenant Rittichier entered the A Shau Valley, heavily defended by hostile forces and numerous antiaircraft sites, and landed at a bomb cratered landing zone to prepare two downed helicopters for aerial recovery out of the hostile area. Lieutenant Rittichier then on-loaded a crew, complete with all personnel equipment, and all portable aircraft equipment, and departed the landing zone littered with unexploded bombs and mines, for recovery to Da Nang Air Base. The professional skill and airmanship displayed by Lieutenant Rittichier reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Action Date: May 4, 1968

Service: Coast Guard

Rank: Lieutenant

Company: 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron (Attached)

Division: 7th Air Force (Attached)

Air Medal

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting a Second and Third Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Third and Fourth award of the Air Medal (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Jack Columbus Rittichier (CGSN: 0-68068148), United States Coast Guard, for meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight while attached to the 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, United States Air Force. Lieutenant Rittichier distinguished himself by meritorious achievement while participating in sustained aerial flight as a combat crew member in Southeast Asia from 10 April 1968 to 9 June 1968. During this period, Lieutenant Rittichier participated superbly in accomplishing highly intricate missions to support Free World Forces that were combating aggression. The energetic application of his knowledge and skill were significant factors that contributed greatly to furthering United States goals in Southeast Asia. The professional ability and outstanding aerial accomplishments of Lieutenant Rittichier reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Action Date: April 10 - June 9, 1968

Service: Coast Guard

Rank: Lieutenant

Company: 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron (Attached)

Division: 7th Air Force (Attached)