Specialist Five Dennis M. Fujii distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity beyond the call of duty while serving as crew chief aboard a helicopter ambulance during rescue operations in Laos, Republic of Vietnam, during the period of 18 to 22 February 1971. Specialist Five Fujii was serving with the 237th Medical Detachment, 61st Medical Battalion, 67th Medical Group. The team’s mission was to evacuate seriously wounded Vietnamese military personnel from the midst of a raging battlefield. The aircraft’s primary approach to the bullet-infested landing zone was thwarted by heavy volumes of enemy fire directed at the specialist’s helicopter. As the pilot made a second landing attempt, the enemy concentrated a barrage of flak at the air ambulance which damaged the craft and caused it to crash in the conflict area, injuring Specialist Five Fujii. Moments later, another American helicopter successfully landed near the wreckage of the specialist’s airship and extracted all the downed crewmen except for Specialist Five Fujii, who was unable to board due to the intense enemy fire directed at him. Rather than further endanger the lives of his comrades aboard the second helicopter, Specialist Five Fujii waved the craft out of the combat area and remained behind as the only American on the battlefield. Subsequent attempts to rescue the specialist were aborted due to the violent antiaircraft fire. Specialist Five Fujii finally secured a radio and informed the aviators in the area that the landing zone was too hot for further evacuation attempts. During the night and all through the next day, Specialist Five Fujii disregarded his own wounds as he administered first aid to the allied casualties. On the night of 19 February, the allied perimeter came under ruthless assault by a reinforced enemy regiment supported by heavy artillery. Once again obtaining a radio transmitter, Specialist Five Fujii called in American helicopter gunships to assist the small unit in repelling the attack. For a period of over seventeen consecutive hours, Specialist Five Fujii repeatedly exposed himself to hostile fire as he left the security of his entrenchment to better observe enemy troop positions and to direct air strikes against them. At times the fighting became so vicious that Specialist Five Fujii was forced to interrupt radio transmittal in order to place suppressive rifle fire on the enemy while at close quarters. Though wounded and severely fatigued by 20 February, the specialist bore the responsibility for the protection and defense of the friendly encampment until an American helicopter could land and attempt to airlift him from the area. As his air ambulance left the battlefield, it received numerous hits and was forced to crash land at another South Vietnamese Ranger base approximately four kilometers from the specialist’s original location. The totally exhausted Specialist Five Fujii remained at the allied camp for two more days until yet another helicopter could return him to Phau Bai for medical assistance on 22 February. Specialist Five Fujii’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
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