Dayton Walk of Fame 2020 Class to include local Medal of Honor Recipient
The Walk of Fame induction class of 2020 offers a first-class mix of individuals with outstanding achievements in the categories of Arts, Culture, Education, Invention, Science, Military, Community Service, Significant Personal Achievement, Entertainment, Media and Philanthropy.
“We have another year of outstanding inductees,” said Harry Seifert, president and CEO of Wright Dunbar, Inc. “They are all excellent examples of the exceptional people who made great strides in their personal lives and have remembered the Miami Valley as their home.”
The 2020 class of inductees are: Hallie Quinn Brown, William Hale Charch, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, John Legend, and AFC William H. Pitsenbarger.
Airman First Class, USAF, William H. Pitsenbarger (1944-1966) was born and raised in Piqua, OH. William tried to enlist in the U.S. Army as a Green Beret during his junior year of high school but his parents refused to give their permission. After he graduated from high school, he joined the Air Force and in 1962 found himself on a train bound for Air Force basic training. Airman Pitsenbarger volunteered for Pararescue and was trained and assigned to the Rescue Squadron based at Hamilton AFB, California. He served a temporary duty in Vietnam and then volunteered to return. He received orders in 1965 to report to the 38th Air Rescue and Recovery Squadron at Bien Hoa Air Base in Saigon. On May 11, 1966 near Cam My, Airman Pitsenbarger was aboard a rescue helicopter responding to a call for evacuation of casualties. Pitsenbarger rode a hoist to the ground where he coordinated rescue efforts, cared for the wounded, and prepared casualties for evacuation. Airman Pitsenbarger stayed behind to perform medical duties during a period of heavy assault by a large Viet Cong force. He courageously resisted the enemy, distributed vital ammunition to his fellow soldiers, repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire and returned fire whenever he could. Airman Pitsenbarger was fatally shot and perished while saving the lives of wounded soldiers on the ground. For his courage and gallantry, Airman First Class William H. Pitsenbarger was posthumously awarded the Air Force Cross. In 2008, his family accepted the Congressional Medal of Honor from the Secretary of the Air Force at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. William Pitsenbarger is buried in Miami Memorial Park Cemetery in Covington, Ohio.
Medal of Honor
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3, 1963 has awarded in the name of the Congress the Medal of Honor posthumously to:
UNITED STATES AIR FORCE
Rank and organization: Airman First Class, U.S. Air Force, Detachment 6, 38th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Bien Hoa Air Base, Republic of Vietnam.
Place and date: Near Cam My, April 11, 1966
Entered service at: Piqua, Ohio
Born: July 8, 1944, Piqua, Ohio
Airman First Class Pitsenbarger distinguished himself by extreme valor on April 11, 1966 near Cam My, Republic of Vietnam, while assigned as a Pararescue Crew Member, Detachment 6, 38th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron. On that date, Airman Pitsenbarger was aboard a rescue helicopter responding to a call for evacuation of casualties incurred in an on-going firefight between elements of the United States Army’s 1st Infantry Division and a sizable enemy force approximately 35 miles east of Saigon. With complete disregard for personal safety, Airman Pitsenbarger volunteered to ride a hoist more than one hundred feet through the jungle, to the ground. On the ground, he organized and coordinated rescue efforts, cared for the wounded, prepared casualties for evacuation, and insured that the recovery operation continued in a smooth and orderly fashion. Through his personal efforts, the evacuation of the wounded was greatly expedited. As each of the nine casualties evacuated that day were recovered, Pitsenbarger refused evacuation in order to get one more wounded soldier to safety. After several pick-ups, one of the two rescue helicopters involved in the evacuation was struck by heavy enemy ground fire and was forced to leave the scene for an emergency landing. Airman Pitsenbarger stayed behind, on the ground, to perform medical duties. Shortly thereafter, the area came under sniper and mortar fire. During a subsequent attempt to evacuate the site, American forces came under heavy assault by a large Viet Cong force. When the enemy launched the assault, the evacuation was called off and Airman Pitsenbarger took up arms with the besieged infantrymen. He courageously resisted the enemy, braving intense gunfire to gather and distribute vital ammunition to American defenders. As the battle raged on, he repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire to care for the wounded, pull them out of the line of fire, and return fire whenever he could, during which time, he was wounded three times. Despite his wounds, he valiantly fought on, simultaneously treating as many wounded as possible. In the vicious fighting which followed, the American forces suffered 80 percent casualties as their perimeter was breached, and airman Pitsenbarger was finally fatally wounded. Airman Pitsenbarger exposed himself to almost certain death by staying on the ground, and perished while saving the lives of wounded infantrymen. His bravery and determination exemplify the highest professional standards and traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Air Force.