Jon Edward SwansonCaptain
B TRP, 1ST SQDN, 9TH CAV RGT, 1 CAV DIV
Army of the United States
01 May 1942 - 26 February 1971
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The database page for Jon Edward Swanson
Captain Jon E. Swanson was killed in action during his second tour in Vietnam. His first tour of duty was in 1967, with D Troop, 3rd Sqd, 5th Cavalry. During that tour he received his first Purple Heart for wounds received while flying support for ground troops.
In early 1971, Captain Swanson, now with the 9th Cavalry, and SSG Larry Gene Harrison, observer, were conducting a visual reconnaissance mission while providing close air support to an ARVN force operating in Kampong Cham Province, Cambodia. They were flying an OH-6A (hull number 69-16067).
While flying at a low altitude marking enemy positions, it came under fire from two machine guns and was seen to burst into flames and crash. Another helicopter landed near the site, but was forced to take off when it came under heavy enemy fire. Repeated attempts by both ARVN ground troops and U.S. helicopters to reach the downed helicopter were thwarted by enemy fire.
On 27 February US helicopters returned to the area and saw what they believed to be the remains of Captain Swanson and SSG Harrison near the crash site. As late as 07 March the remains were observed near the crash site, but could not be recovered due to enemy fire.
Captain Swanson was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions in support of ARVN Task Force 33.
Thirty years later, Congress approved legislation which allowed the President to upgrade the DSC to the Medal of Honor, should the President see fit to do so.
The documents which support the upgrade give greater detail of the action on that day:
The remains of Captain Jon E. Swanson and SSG Larry Gene Harrison have not been recovered (see addendum below).
26 April 2002
On May 1, 2002, Jon's 60th birthday and the 33rd aniversary of his mother's death, Jon will be awarded the Medal of Honor.
On May 3, 2002, Captain Jon Edward Swanson and Staff Sergeant Larry Harrison will be buried together with full honors at Arlington National Cemetery. Remains from the aircraft crash site in Cambodia were recovered by the U.S. Army and have been returned to the United States.
I know, with confidence because I knew him, that Jon would be the first to credit all who served with him in the Vietnam war and accept his award for the courage of all those who bravely fought, but have not been recognized by medals or awards.
Andrew C. Swanson, CW3, USAR
Paying tribute to this young hero,
Rest well in the Mighty Hands of God, Jon Edward Swanson, and know that you will NEVER BE FORGOTTEN.
There is an inscription on a gate at Arlington National Cemetery that reads
"Rest easy, sleep well, my brothers.
From the sister of another young 1st Cavalry hero,
Notes from The Virtual WallThe remains of Captain Jon E. Swanson and SSG Larry Gene Harrison were repatriated on 21 September 1995, but positive identification of the remains was not made public until 07 February 2002, nine days after this memorial was originally published on The Virtual Wall. The staff of The Virtual Wall, all combat veterans of Vietnam, welcome Captain Swanson and Staff Sergeant Harrison home.
His wife Sandee Swanson and daughters Brigid Swanson-Jones and Holly Walker receive the Medal of Honor from President Bush on 1 May 2002
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 29 Jan 2002
Last updated 08/10/2009