George T. Curtis
Did participants in Operation Frequent Wind qualify for
this award? Do they qualify for Combat Action?
Several aircrew members that I knew wore both awards
and were not on active duty before 1/28/73
Operation Frequent Wind
Operation Frequent Wind, the evacuation of Vietnam in April 1975, moved over 50,000 people. The initial decision to depart Saigon was made to evacuate the Defense Attaché's office by fixed-wing aircraft. This fixed-wing evacuation was determined impossible when hostile artillery and rocket fire closed the air base at Tan Son Nhut. The decision to evacuate the entire US presence by helicopter under Operation Frequent Wind was made late morning, 29 April 1975, Saigon time. Due to the delayed timing of the order, the capability for rapid response to such an order was imperative. The deteriorating situation at the Defense Attaché location required the Embassy to become a major site.
The evacuation of the Defense Attaché people proceeded smoothly. Total casualties were relatively light: two USMC Embassy Security Guards killed in an attack by ground fire, and two USMC CH-46 search and rescue helicopter aircrews presumed dead following a crash at sea. Total evacuation helicopter sorties from the US Defense Attaché compound numbered 122. The sorties from the US Embassy numbered 72. The evacuation of 7,806 US citizens and foreign nationals from these two places by the US Air Force and Marine Corps helicopters was supported by a major air effort by the Air Force and Navy. This effort consisted of: 444 USAF/USMC helicopter sorties; 204 TACAIR sorties; 24 AH-1J (Cobra) combat escort sorties; 8 AC-130 gunship sorties; 5 EC-130 (ABCCC) sorties; 44 KC-135 tanker sorties; and 2 HC-130 search and rescue support sorties.
The 9th Marine Amphibious Brigade, a task force of the III MEF successfully extracted by helicopter more than 7,000 Americans and Vietnamese from Saigon, Vietnam, in Operation Frequent Wind. In conjunction with this operation, Marine detachments from III MEF provided security of U.S. ships engaged in carrying Vietnamese refugees to Guam.
The Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal was awarded for Operation Frequent Wind
George T. Curtis
The Combat Action Ribbon of the Navy and Marine Corps was instituted in 1969. Awarded for active participation in ground or air combat during specifically listed military operations.
NOTE: this is the only Navy/Marine personal decoration that has no associated medal.
Awarded to members of the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard (when the Coast Guard or units thereof operate under the control of the Navy) in the grade of captain/colonel and junior thereto, who have actively participated in ground or surface combat. Upon submission of evidence to their commanding officer, personnel who earned the Combat Infantryman Badge or Combat Medical Badge while a member of the U.S. Army may be authorized to wear the Combat Action Ribbon.
The principal eligibility criterion is that the individual must have participated in a bona fide ground or surface combat fire fight or action during which he was under enemy fire and his performance while under fire was satisfactory. The following amplifying remarks are furnished as guidance.
Personnel in Riverine and coastal operations, assaults, patrols, sweeps, ambushes, convoys, amphibious landings, and similar activities who have participated in fire fights are eligible.
Personnel assigned to areas subjected to sustained mortar, missile, and artillery attacks who actively participate in retaliatory or offensive actions are eligible.
Personnel in clandestine or special operations such as reconnaissance and SEAL teams are eligible when the risk of enemy fire was great and was expected to be encountered.
Personnel aboard a ship are eligible when the safety of the ship and the crew were endangered by enemy attack, such as a ship hit by a mine or a ship engaged by shore, surface, air or subsurface elements.
Personnel eligible for the award of the Purple Heart are not necessarily qualified for the Combat Action Ribbon unless the wound was received while under enemy fire in one of the above scenarios.
The Combat Action Ribbon will not be awarded to personnel for aerial combat since the Strike/Flight Air Medal provides recognition for aerial combat exposure; however, a pilot or crewmember forced to escape or evade after being forced down could be eligible for the award.
Operations. An individual, whose eligibility has been established in combat in any of the following listed operations, is authorized the award of the Combat Action Ribbon. Only one award per operation is authorized. Subsequent awards will be indicated by the use of a Gold Star on the ribbon:
Southeast Asia (Vietnam) From 1 March 1961 to 15 August 1973.
Dominican Republic. From 28 April 1965 to 21 September 1966. (No ships qualified)
USS LIBERTY (AGTR 5). 8 and 9 June 1967.
USS PUEBLO (AGER 2). 23 January 1968.
Operation FREQUENT WIND. (Evacuation operations, Saigon) 29 and 30 April 1975. (No ships qualified)
Operation MAYAGUEZ. 15 May 1975. (No ships qualified)
Grenada. 24 October 1983 - 2 November 1983. (No ships qualified)
Lebanon. 20 August 1982 to I August 1984. (No ships qualified)
COMNAVSPECWAR Task Unit Tango - 22 Sep 1987
USS SAMUEL B. ROBERTS (FFG 58) - 14 Apr 1988
Operation PRAYING MANTIS - 18 Apr 1988
USS ELMER MONTGOMERY (FF 1082) AND USS VINCENNES (CG 49) -3 Jul 1988
Operation JUST CAUSE (Panama). 20 December 1989 - 31 January 1990.
Operation DESERT STORM. 17 January 1991 -
This list was last updated in 1991
George T. Curtis
I had heard that we received the combat action ribbon for operation frequent wind. I knew that we had also received the PUC, MUC and the AFEM. When I checked the link above regarding the AFEM I noticed that it was also awarded for operation Eagle Pull. Thanks for posting all of this information.
Last edited by psn; 02-09-2004 at 18:46.
This is from MarAdmin 218/04 (Awards Update)
4. MARINES THAT WERE AWARDED THE ARMED FORCES EXPEDITIONARY MEDAL FOR PARTICIPATING IN OPERATION FREQUENT WIND FROM 29-30 APRIL 1975 ARE NOW ENTITLED TO EXCHANGE IT FOR THE VIETNAM SERVICE MEDAL PER SECTION 542 IN PUBLIC LAW 107-314. OPERATION FREQUENT WIND, 29-30 APRIL 1975, WILL BE REFLECTED AS THE 18TH CAMPAIGN UNDER THE VIETNAM CAMPAIGN.
A. COMMANDERS ARE AUTHORIZED TO PROCESS REQUESTS FOR PERSONNEL UNDER HIS/HER COGNIZANCE.
B. RETIRED AND FORMER MARINES AFFECTED BY THIS LAW NEED TO SUBMIT THEIR REQUESTS TO THE NATIONAL PERSONNEL RECORDS CENTER (NPRC) BY FAX TO (314) 801-9195 OR BY MAIL TO:
NATIONAL PERSONNEL RECORDS CENTER
MILITARY PERSONNEL RECORDS
9700 PAGE AVENUE
ST. LOUIS MO 63132
REQUESTS ADDRESSED TO NPRC MUST INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING PERSONAL INFORMATION: FULL NAME, SSN, SERVICE/SERIAL NUMBER, BRANCH OF SERVICE, DATE OF BIRTH, AND PERIOD OF SERVICE.
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