Home»»World War II»Medals and Ribbons
Vietnam War Army Helicopter Pilot Medal Group
click for an even bigger image

On Hold

DESCRIPTION

A large and exceptional group of the medals, photographs, and documents of Army Warrant Officer Robert W. Watts, who served as a combat helicopter pilot in the 48th Assault Helicopter Company in Vietnam. Warrant Officer Watts piloted a Bell UH-1B "Iroquois" gunship helicopter (commonly known as a "Huey") in Vietnam from September, 1967, until July of 1968.

Warrant Officer Watts' medals in the group consists of all of the decorations that he received while serving in the Army as reflected on his official DD-214 Form (a copy of which is included with the documents). Those medals and decorations are: The Distinguished Flying Cross, slot broach, unnamed as awarded in the theater of operations. The DFC was awarded for a specific act of "heroism" that was "above and beyond the call of duty" on 30 January, 1968. At that time, while Watts was piloting his helicopter gunship, an American compound at Ninh Hoa was being overrun by a superior enemy force, and the large civilian population in the area prevented Watts from firing the weapons on his ship. Watts therefore began flying his Huey at a low level over the compound, leading the enemy to immediately direct their fire towards his ship. Watts continued this "exceptionally valorous" action for an hour, during which his crew chief was wounded and his ship was "riddled" with enemy fire. For this action he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. Also in the group are: the Air Medal, crimp broach, the broach marked HLP-GI, with 22 oak leaf clusters (two in silver, representing 20 awards, and two bronze clusters). The Air Medal planchet was privately engraved by the recipient "Robert W. Watts 67-68"; Bronze Star decoration, slot broach, also privately engraved by the recipient in the same style as the Air Medal, "Robert W. Watts 67-68"; Purple Heart decoration, slot broach, with oak leaf cluster, unnamed as awarded; Army Commendation Medal, crimp broach, the broach marked with a diamond manufacturer mark and "GI"; Army Good Conduct Medal, slot broach, unnamed as awarded; National defense Medal, crimp broach, the broach marked with a diamond manufacturer mark and "GI"; the Vietnam Service Medal, crimp broach, with two campaign stars; and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, crimp broach with clutch back suspension. All of these awards are entered on to Watts' DD-214 form, with the exception of the oak leaf cluster to the Purple Heart, possibly reflecting that the wound for which Watts was awarded the oak leaf cluster had not been fully processed through the military bureaucracy at the time that the DD-214 was prepared.

The group also includes Watts' insignia, consisting of his full size, pin back, wings as an Army Aviator. The wings are manufacturer marked by Vanguard; Warrant Officer cap and lapel insignia, as well as a set of Warrant Officer rank insignia on the manufacturer's card, dated "67".

Finally, the group includes a large album containing plastic sleeves which contain several large photographs of Watts as well as numerous documents, both original and copies, relating to Watts' service and awards. These documents include the original document for the award of oak leaf clusters 1 through 22 for Watts' Air Medal, and the original graduation diploma that Watts received upon completing Army Aviation pilot training. The documents also include a record of some of Watts' missions in Vietnam as well as copies of the citations for his Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, and Army Commendation Medal. The photographs and documents are contained within a large album on the front of which is mounted a plaque that is engraved "Warrant Officer W1 Robert W. Watts U.S. Army".