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USM-6

US Vietnam War Purple Heart to Co-Pilot of C-130B KIA During Rescue Mission

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  • $ 450
  • Regular price $ 650


US Vietnam War Purple Heart to Co-Pilot of C-130B KIA During Rescue Mission-There are many sad stories and this is certainly one of them. 1st Lt. Stephen Craig Moreland was born 2-16-1943 in Los Angeles, CA. He was a member of the Air Force 774th Tactical Airlift Squadron out of Mactan Airbase, Philippines. On a mission to evacuate US military personnel and South Vietnamese troops and their families on May 12, 1968, the Air Force assigned a C130B (serial number 60-0297) to Kham Duc Special Forces Camp. Co-pilot Moreland was part of the air crew along with pilot Maj. Bernard Bucher, navigator Maj. John McElroy, flight engineer SSgt Frank Helper and loadmaster Airman George Long. Also aboard was Capt. Warren Orr, Jr. who was a special forces civil affairs officer whose job it was to assist in getting as many of the civilians out of Kham Duc as possible. The C130B landed at the camp amidst the chaos of battle and immediately began taking on as many passengers as it could. It took off under intense enemy mortar and small arms attack. A Forward Air Controller in the area watched as the Hercules took off and reported that it exploded in a fire ball in mid air approximately 1 mile from the end of the air strip. All aboard were killed, 156 in total, making it at the time the worst crash of the war. It is still listed as the second worst. The medal is in its original case of issue. The medal is in beautiful condition and includes the miniature lapel version. The engraving on the reverse reads “Stephen C Moreland”. We have included a few articles that we found online about him and about the incident as well. Excellent condition!