13 Jul 2003
On 11 April 1969, a CH-46A, BuNo 153332, of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 364 was conducting a routine flight when without warning it broke up in midair and crashed, killing the four crewmen aboard:
After the wreckage was recovered and examined, it was determined that the cause was a catastrophic blade failure - one of the three forward rotor blades failed due to metal fatigue. When the one blade failed it produced enormous unbalanced load conditions on the forward rotor head and forward transmission causing them to be literally torn from the aircraft. During this disintegration process, some of the debris impacted the aft rotor system and pylon and it too was torn from the helicopter.
These four men, and the other Purple Foxes who served in Vietnam, are remembered by the women who waited at home, whether mothers, sisters, daughters, or friends. Those women, the
the Purple Foxy Ladies
continue to support today's Purple Foxes of HMM-364 as they serve our country.
the Purple Foxes
on-line or go to our unit page
on The Virtual Wall
A memorial initiated by the
Purple Foxy Ladies
COMMANDANT OF THE MARINE CORPS
The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS posthumously to
FIRST LIEUTENANT LAURIE E. BARNES
for service as set forth in the following
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS RESERVE
For heroism and extraordinary achievement in aerial flight while serving with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 364 in the Republic of Vietnam on 20 November 1968. During Operation MEADE RIVER, First Lieutenant Barnes launched as the Copilot aboard the seventh aircraft in a flight of 14 CH-46 transport helicopters assigned to helilift the assault elements of a Marine battalion into an enemy controlled area southwest of DaNang. Arriving over the designated area, he skillfully monitored his instruments and directed the delivery of suppressive machine gun fire, enabling his aircraft to land, disembark its assault unit, and return to An Hoa and embark the second increment. Undaunted by the heavy volume of enemy mortar, small arms, and automatic weapons fire, and realizing the urgency of expediting the reinforcement of the heavily engaged ground units which were cordoning a large hostile force, First Lieutenant Barnes resolutely braved the intense enemy fire as he assisted his aircraft commander during the approach to the hazardous zone. When his CH-46 encountered an extremely heavy volume of hostile fire, wounding the pilot, First Lieutenant Barnes immediately seized control of the aircraft and skillfully maneuvered it to prevent crashing in the battle area. Climbing out of the dangerous area, he rapidly departed for the Marble Mountain Air Facility where his pilot was quickly evacuated to a medical station. First Lieutenant Barnes' courage, superior airmanship and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of great personal danger were instrumental in the accomplishment of the hazardous mission and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
For the President
/S/ L. F. Chapman, Jr.
Commandant of the Marine Corps