Bookmark and Share

Melvin William DeMars , Jr.


Mel DeMars graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Class of 1971. The pilot recovered by Major DeMars in this action was Captain Timothy Howard, who had been shot down with his Weapons Officer Captain Jeb Seagle. Captain Howard was awarded the Silver Star for this mission, and Captain Seagle was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.

AWARDS AND CITATIONS

Silver Star

See more recipients of this award

Awarded for actions during the Invasion of Grenada

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Major Melvin William DeMars, Jr., United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as Helicopter Aircraft Commander of a CH-46 assault helicopter while serving with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron TWO HUNDRED SIXTY-ONE (HMM-261), Twenty-Second Marine Amphibious Unit conducting combat operations on the Island of Grenada in support of Operation URGENT FURY, on 25 October 1983. During the afternoon hours, while conducting an armed reconnaissance mission for ground forces, a section of AH-1T (TOW) Cobra gunships was taken under fire by anti-aircraft artillery, forcing one helicopter down behind enemy lines. Major DeMars unhesitatingly responded to an urgent radio call from the airborne wingman requesting assistance from a rescue aircraft. Briefed that enemy soldiers were approaching the crash site which seemed to be surrounded by anti-aircraft artillery emplacements, Major DeMars fearlessly waited for the other pilot who was not found in the zone to return. Though the enemy's attention began to focus on the zone with heavy fire, it was only after the Cobra started to run low on suppressive ordnance that Major DeMars lifted out of the zone on the perilous egress back through the anti-aircraft artillery threat. Major DeMars' steadfast leadership, extraordinary bravery, and unrelenting devotion to duty in the face of enemy fire resulted in the successful rescue of a severely wounded pilot; thereby reflecting great credit upon himself and upholding the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: 25-Oct-83

Service: Marine Corps

Rank: Major

Company: Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 261 (HMM-261)

Division: 22d Marine Amphibious Unit

Legion of Merit

See more recipients of this award

Awarded for actions during the Peace Time Awards

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Legion of Merit to Colonel Melvin William DeMars, Jr., United States Marine Corps, for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service as Commanding Officer and Presidential Pilot, Marine Helicopter Squadron ONE, Quantico, Virginia, from June 1993 to June 1995. Colonel DeMars provided both the Marine Corps and Office of the President of the United States with the highest level of support while instilling the unit with the highest standards of leadership and moral courage. As Commanding Officer, his devotion to duty resulted in sustained mishap-free flying hours and near record flight time over a two-year period, while providing responsive and safe helicopter transportation for the President on 200 occasions. Through his commitment to operations testing, he was responsible for the superior, cost efficient technology for the Fleet Marine Force. Colonel DeMars' forward thinking and intelligence planning for new technology and infrastructure ensured that the squadron will continue to provide outstanding service to the fleet and the executive mission well into the 21st century. Because of his keen prescience and determination, he ensured that pilots and aircrews leaving the squadron returned to their fleet units with the skills and experience necessary to be immediately productive and ready for combat. By his exceptional ability, initiative, and total dedication to duty, Colonel DeMars reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: June 1993 - June 1995

Service: Marine Corps

Rank: Colonel

Legion of Merit

See more recipients of this award

Awarded for actions during the Peace Time Awards

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Award of the Legion of Merit to Colonel Melvin William DeMars, Jr., United States Marine Corps, for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service while serving consecutively as Aviation Colonel's Monitor and Deputy Director, Officer Assignment Branch, Personnel Management Division, Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Department, Headquarters, United States Marine Corps, Quantico, Virginia, from July 1997 through August 1999. During this period, Colonel DeMars brought a wealth of managerial expertise and leadership to the command and contributed significantly to the successful accomplishment of its mission. He was directly responsible for the assignment of over 350 active duty Marine Corps officers, each serving executive-level positions that significantly affected not only the Marine Corps, but also the Department of Defense as a whole. Colonel DeMars was charged with many diverse manpower programs affecting command, joint, acquisition, special and advanced education assignments, augmentation and resident professional military education each having a lasting impact on the Marine Corps. He displayed superior leadership to downsizing without a commensurate reduction in operational requirements. Colonel DeMars' commitment to consistency, knowledge, and his unwavering belief in fairness materially enhanced the officer assignment process. Superior performance of duties as typified above highlighted the culmination of more than 29 years of honorable and dedicated Marine Corps Service. Colonel DeMars' tireless efforts to carry out his duties with unfailing good judgment, effectiveness, and total devotion to duty reflected great credit upon him and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: June 1993 - June 1995

Service: Marine Corps

Rank: Colonel