World Food Prize Ambassador Quinn
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THE ARCHIVE OF AMBASSADOR KENNETH M. QUINN
FROM THE MISSISSIPPI TO THE MEKONG
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U.S. Army Air Medal | Helicopter Combat Operations in Vietnam

01/01/2009 Amb. Kenneth Quinn

In 2009, Ambassador Quinn was presented the U.S Army Air Medal for his participation in over 200 hours of combat operations, as a civilian, in 1970 during the Vietnam War. As a State Department Foreign Service Officer, he was assigned to the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV) Advisory Team 65 in Sodes Province. As part of this combined military-civilian provincial advisory program, he was appointed the Distinct Senior Advisor of Due Ton District, where he lead a 10 man US Army Advisory team. Every evening helicopter units of the 7/1st Air Cavalry Unit from the nearby unit Long Army Air Field would operate in Due Ton to protect the airfield from a VietCong night attack. As the senior U.S. officer in Due Ton, although a civilian Ambassador Quinn flew in the command helicopter where he directed the operations making all decisions about engaging the enemy. Flying only 100 feet above the ground, the command helicopter in which he rode was exposed to enemy fire. On a separate occasion, when a remote outpost was overrun at night by the VietCong and all communication was lost, Ambassador Quinn boarded the medical evacuation helicopter and personally guided the pilots into the unsecured landing twice in order to evacuate approximately 30 seriously wounded soldiers. Ambassador Quinn was the only civilian ever awarded the Army Air Medal for flying helicopter combat operations during the Vietnam War.

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