ARLINGTON, Va., March 4, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On Friday, March 11, 2011, the Air Force Memorial, overlooking Arlington National Cemetery and the familiar skyline of downtown Washington, D.C., will be hosting an engraving ceremony honoring the late Medal of Honor recipient, Chief Master Sergeant Richard L. Etchberger.
The unveiling ceremony will recognize CMSgt Etchberger's name on the Valor, Courage and Sacrifice Wall at the Air Force Memorial at 10:30 a.m. Etchberger received the Medal of Honor, the U.S. military's highest decoration, posthumously for his heroic actions in combat on March 11, 1968, during the Vietnam War.
As a radar technician, he served at the summit of one of the tallest mountains in Laos, where he and a small team manned a radar station guiding American pilots in the air campaign against North Vietnam.
On March 11, 1968, the site came under attack from North Vietnamese soldiers. Chief Etchberger continued to direct air strikes and call for air rescue on his emergency radio, thus enabling the air evacuation force to locate their position. Etchberger tended to the wounded and fought off the advancing North Vietnamese troops until a rescue helicopter arrived.
Etchberger loaded his wounded men, one by one, each time exposing himself to enemy fire. But as the helicopter headed toward an air base in Thailand, an enemy soldier below fired into the underside of the aircraft, fatally wounding Etchberger. Of those 19 men on the mountain that night, only seven made it out alive. Three of them owed their lives to the actions of Chief Etchberger.
The Medal of Honor was presented to Etchberger's sons by President Obama at a White House ceremony on September 21, 2010.
The Air Force Memorial is proud to host this special ceremony in honor of CMSgt Richard L. Etchberger, for serving above and beyond the call of duty.
The AFA is a 501(C)(3), nonprofit organization promoting public understanding of aerospace power and the pivotal role it plays in the security of the nation. AFA has over 200 chapters nationally and internationally representing 120,000 members. Visit AFA www.AFA.org.
SOURCE Air Force Memorial Foundation; Air Force Association