John L. Levitow

3rd Special Operations Squadron

Medal of Honor

Recipient

               

Airman 1st Class John Lee Levitow

 

6 November 1969

United States Air Force

3rd Special Operations Squadron


Over Long Binh Army Post 

Republic of Viet Nam

Levitow dies 8 November 2000

Citation:

Airman First Class John L. Levitow, assigned to the U.S. Air Force 3rd Special Operations Squadron was awarded the Medal of Honor for actions on 24 February above Long Binh, Republic of Vietnam for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action, at the risk of his life, above and beyond the call of duty. Airman First Class Levitow distinguished himself by exceptional heroism while assigned as a loadmaster aboard an AC-47 aircraft flying a night mission in support of Long Binh Army Post. Airman First Class Levitow's aircraft was struck by a hostile mortar round. The resulting explosion ripped a hole two feet in diameter through the wing and fragments made over 3,500 holes in the fuselage. All occupants of the cargo compartment were wounded and helplessly slammed against the floor and fuselage. The explosion tore an activated flare from the grasp of a crewmember who had been launching flares to provide illumination for Army ground troops engaged in combat. Airman First Class Levitow, though stunned by the concussion of the blast and suffering from over 40 fragment wounds in the back and legs, staggered to his feet and turned to assist the man nearest to him who had been knocked down and was bleeding heavily. As he was moving his wounded comrade forward and away from the open cargo compartment door, he saw the smoking flare ahead of him in the aisle. Realizing the danger involved and completely disregarding his own wounds, Airman First Class Levitow started toward the burning flare. The aircraft was partially out of control and the flare was rolling wildly from side to side. Airman First Class Levitow struggled forward despite the loss of blood from his many wounds and the partial loss of feeling in his right leg. Unable to grasp the rolling flare with his hands, he threw himself bodily upon the burning flare. Hugging the deadly device to his body, he dragged himself to the rear of the aircraft and hurled the flare through the open cargo door. At that instant the flare separated and ignited in the air, but clear of the aircraft. Airman First Class Levitow, by his selfless and heroic action, saved the aircraft and the entire crew from certain death and destruction. Airman First Class Levitow gallantry, his profound concern for his fellow men, and at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Air Force, and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.

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