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Bryan Whitfield Compton , Jr.

Date of birth: October 23, 1928
Place of Birth: Texas, San Angelo
Home of record: Demopolis Alabama

Bryan Compton graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Class of 1951. He retired as a U.S. Navy Rear Admiral.

AWARDS AND CITATIONS

Navy Cross

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Commander Bryan Whitfield Compton, Jr. (NSN: 0-542886), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism as a pilot and as Commanding Officer of Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED SIXTY-THREE (VA-163), embarked in U.S.S. ORISKANY (CVA-34), on 21 August 1967. As the strike leader of a major coordinated air attack against the Hanoi Thermal Power Plant, Hanoi, North Vietnam, Commander Compton, with precise navigation and timing, led the strike group to the target area through an extremely intense array of sophisticated enemy defenses, including at least twenty-eight surface-to-air missiles and heavy, accurate anti-aircraft fire. Despite the continuing heavy enemy opposition in the target area, Commander Compton skillfully maneuvered his strike forces and led them in an attack which inflicted major damage upon the target. During the attack, strike aircraft incurred extensive battle damage from the heavy flak opposition. With complete disregard for his own safety, Commander Compton remained in the vicinity of the target until the damaged aircraft exited the area safely. In addition to assisting the egressing strike pilots by calling evasive maneuvers necessary for them to avoid surface-to-air missiles and heavy concentrations of anti-aircraft artillery fire, he succeeded in taking seventeen pictures with a hand-held camera which provided immediate and invaluable damage assessment of this most significant target. By his superb leadership, outstanding courage and inspiring devotion to duty in the face of extremely heavy enemy opposition, Commander Compton contributed greatly to the success of a most hazardous mission and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: Authority: Navy Department Board of Decorations and Medals

Action Date: 21-Aug-67

Service: Navy

Rank: Commander

Company: Attack Squadron 163 (VA-163)

Division: U.S.S. Oriskany (CVA-34)

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 Commander Bryan Whitfield Compton, Jr. (NSN: 0-542886), United States Navy, for heroism and extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as a pilot of a jet attack aircraft attached to Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED SIXTY-THREE (VA-163), embarked in U.S.S. ORISKANY (CVA-34), during an attack on the important enemy transportation center at Ninh Binh, North Vietnam, on 14 October 1966. As strike leader, Commander Compton skillfully developed a plan to attack the enemy with minimum risk to his own forces. Leading the strike group of 18 aircraft in the execution of his plan, he quickly seized on the existing cloud cover to further protect his forces. As surprise was achieved, he directed two of the four flak suppressor aircraft to attack their alternate target within the target complex. He successfully coordinated the attack so that all elements of the strike group simultaneously entered their dives on the separate targets assigned, greatly reducing their exposure to the flak. As the attack commenced, the enemy flak steadily increased. Nevertheless, Commander Compton continued to press home the attack. Under his direction the remaining flak suppressor aircraft effectively attacked and silenced two of the most threatening sites as the main force entered their delivery dives. All elements of the strike group enjoyed outstanding success. The railroad marshalling yard was interdicted; 15 railroad cars on the railroad bypass were destroyed producing four secondary explosions and the approach was severed; 15 railroad cars on the railroad bypass were destroyed producing four secondary explosions and numerous fires; the northern end of the railroad bypass bridge was destroyed and the approach was severed; the temporary section in the main railroad bridge was destroyed and the bridge further damaged. Upon completion of this extremely successful attack, the entire strike group retired unscathed. By his detailed planning and ingenuity, quick grasp of the changing tactical situation, skillful coordination of the strike, and personal bombing skill, Commander Compton insured the success of this strike. His leadership and determination in the face of enemy fire contributed to the success of the interdiction efforts in North Vietnam and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: October 14, 1966

Service: Navy

Rank: Commander

Battalion: Attack Squadron 163 (VA-163)

Division: U.S.S. Oriskany (CVA-34)

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 Gold Star in lieu of a Second Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross to Commander Bryan Whitfield Compton, Jr. (NSN: 0-542886), United States Navy, for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as an attack pilot while serving as Commanding Officer of Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED SIXTY-THREE (VA-163), embarked in U.S.S. ORISKANY (CVA-34), on 19July 1967. Commander Compton was strike leader of a major Air Wing attack against the important Co Trai Railroad and Highway Bridge which is located 23 miles south of Hanoi. As the strike group approached the target, extremely dense enemy defenses were encountered. Commander Compton adroitly directed flak suppression aircraft to attack the anti-aircraft sites presenting the greatest threat. Almost immediately, the strike group was repeatedly attacked by surface-to-air missiles. Commander Compton skillfully led the strike group in evading this deadly threat. With target destruction as his sole objective, he executed these devastating maneuvers in such a manner as to arrive in the optimum position for attack. Despite the intense flak, Commander Compton led the attack and placed all bombs on target. Commander Compton's extremely accurate ordnance delivery and the ensuing accuracy of the strike group heavily damaged the bridge and cratered the rail line and highway in numerous places. Commander Compton, by his personal example of initiative and extremely professional flying ability, assured the successful results of this mission and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: July 19, 1967

Service: Navy

Rank: Commander

Battalion: Attack Squadron 163 (VA-163)

Division: U.S.S. Oriskany (CVA-34)

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 Gold Star in lieu of a Third Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross to Commander Bryan Whitfield Compton, Jr. (NSN: 0-542886), United States Navy, for heroism and extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as an attack pilot while serving as Commanding Officer of Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED SIXTY-THREE (VA-163), embarked in U.S.S. ORISKANY (CVA-34), during a combat mission over North Vietnam on 4 September 1967. Commander Compton was the leader of a strike element during the first major strike by 20 aircraft against the system of bridges which connects the river-locked port city of Haiphong with the remainder of North Vietnam. This strike's specific target was the primary highway bridge located three miles south-southeast of Haiphong. As the strike group approached the target through an intense barrage of deadly 37-mm. and 85-mm. anti-aircraft artillery bursts, five surface-to-air missiles were launched. Commander Compton led his element in the successful evasion of this lethal threat. He realized that the evasion had forced his element into a less than favorable position for an accurate dive bombing attack. With target destruction as his sole goal, he weaved and climbed, through a constantly increasing volume of flak, to an optimum roll-in position. Despite the accurate fire from numerous sites surrounding the target, he led his element in its coordinated attack and accurately placed his bombs on target. The combined destruction of the bombs dropped by his division totally destroyed two bridge spans. Commander Compton's brilliant leadership, tenacious aggressiveness and unerring dive bombing insured the success of this strike which totally destroyed four of the five bridge spans. His brave and extraordinary professional actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: September 4, 1967

Service: Navy

Rank: Commander

Battalion: Attack Squadron 163 (VA-163)

Division: U.S.S. Oriskany (CVA-34)

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 Gold Star in lieu of a Fourth Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross to Commander Bryan Whitfield Compton, Jr. (NSN: 0-542886), United States Navy, for heroism and extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as an attack pilot while serving as Commanding Officer of Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED SIXTY-THREE (VA-163), embarked in U.S.S. ORISKANY (CVA-34), on 18 October 1967. Commander Compton planned and led a 22-plane strike against the Haiphong Shipyard Lach Tray located two miles southwest of Haiphong, North Vietnam. Denying the North Vietnamese the use of this repair facility and the adjacent waterway was a significant step in reducing the flow of war materials and supplies from the port of Haiphong to the south. As the 22-plane strike group approached the heavily defended target area, they were met by a barrage of six surface-to-air missiles, two of which were tracking Commander Compton's division. He maneuvered the flight successfully to evade their deadly threat. in the vicinity of the target, intense flak of 37-mm and 85-mm caliber assaulted the strike group. Commander Compton pressed on and set up a near optimum roll-in point. His bombs were observed by other members of the flight to impact precisely in the briefed spot. At the completion of his run, he remained in the target area to get bomb damage assessment with a hand-held camera before retiring to safety. Learning that one of the attack aircraft was missing. Commander Compton took charge of the search and rescue attempt. Disregarding his personal safety, he proceeded to the suspected site of the downed aircraft conducting visual and electronic search for the pilot. Only when positively assured that further search and rescue would be futile, did he leave the scene. Commander Compton's careful planning, undaunted courage and extraordinary determination contributed immeasurably to the high degree of success of the mission and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: October 18, 1967

Service: Navy

Rank: Commander

Battalion: Attack Squadron 163 (VA-163)

Division: U.S.S. Oriskany (CVA-34)

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 Gold Star in lieu of a Fifth Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross to Commander Bryan Whitfield Compton, Jr. (NSN: 0-542886), United States Navy, for heroism and extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as an attack pilot while serving as Commanding Officer of Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED SIXTY-THREE (VA-163), embarked in U.S.S. ORISKANY (CVA-34), on 25 October 1967. Commander Compton led a major strike force against the Phuc Yen Airfield, about 11 miles north of Hanoi. Although under continuous, heavy and accurate 37-mm. and 85-mm. anti-aircraft artillery fire during the last 30 miles to the target, Commander Compton skillfully led his entire force through this hostile environment. Just prior to the final attack, the enemy unleashed a barrage of surface-to-air missiles. Commander Compton calmly directed the successful evasion of these missiles and attacked. His bombs ere seen to blanket his assigned revetments and severely damaged two MiG fighters. Hand-held photography taken by Commander Compton during the attack, later established the success of the mission and the accuracy of the strike group's attack. The foresight, planning, aggressiveness and leadership demonstrated by Commander Compton were an outstanding example of significant individual performance and his action upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: October 25, 1967

Service: Navy

Rank: Commander

Battalion: Attack Squadron 163 (VA-163)

Division: U.S.S. Oriskany (CVA-34)

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 Star in lieu of a Sixth Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross to Commander Bryan Whitfield Compton, Jr. (NSN: 0-542886), United States Navy, for heroism and extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as an attack pilot while serving as Commanding Officer of Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED SIXTY-THREE (VA-163), embarked in U.S.S. ORISKANY (CVA-34), on 26 October 1967. Commander Compton was a division leader of a four-plane element which was part of a major strike against the strategically vital and significant Hanoi Thermal Power Plant, located one mile from the center of the capitol city of North Vietnam. This target and the surrounding area is one of the most heavily defended areas in the country, consisting of over 29 permanent surface-to-air missile sites and hundreds of anti-aircraft artillery sties. Commander Compton's division was selected to make the most direct assault against the target, attacking just before the remainder of the strike group. In accordance with the strike plan, he detached his division from the main strike force approximately 15 miles southwest of the target and proceeded directly toward Hanoi. Immediately his division was brought under attack by three surface-to-air missiles. Low visibility in the Red River Valley made missile acquisition difficult; however, Commander Compton led his section through successful evasion maneuvers. As he pressed ever closer to the target, he was forced to maneuver through volley after volley of surface-to-air missiles. The entire strike force was fired upon by 22 missiles. Despite the threat of surface to air missiles and the flak from all calibers of anti-aircraft artillery sites, Commander Compton flew his aircraft to his point of attack, modifying this point to provide for a steeper run and thus negate the effects of the enemy's screening. From this position he aggressively pressed home the delivery of his weapon and scored a direct hit upon the generator house of the thermal power plant. This successful weapons delivery was accomplished despite the fact that the enemy had attempted to hide the target beneath a smoke screen. During egress from the target area, Commander Compton again maneuvered his aircraft with skill to avoid the continued heavy and accurate fire from numerous anti-aircraft artillery positions and several more surface-to-air missiles. Detecting an occupied surface-to-air missile site, Commander Compton with his remaining bomb, heavily damaged one launcher. There is no doubt that commander Compton, because of his heroic and extraordinary airmanship, inflicted major damage to this vital target. Because of his careful planning and exemplary airborne leadership in the face of the heaviest of enemy opposition, Commander Compton contributed significantly to the success of this very important strike and his actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: October 26, 1967

Service: Navy

Rank: Commander

Battalion: Attack Squadron 163 (VA-163)

Division: U.S.S. Oriskany (CVA-34)