Paul Truman McClellan, Jr. (1931 - 1965)
Early Pilot Training
F-101 Pilot (RAF Bentwaters, England)
F-105 Instructor Pilot (Nellis AFB, Nevada)
A-1E Combat Pilot (Vietnam)
I was in the battle at LZ X-RAY, November 14-16, 1965 as a machine gunner with the 7th Cavalry. While laying prone on the ground and firing at the advancing NVA I was observing the A-1E Skyraider making his bombing runs in front of my position (between the Chu Pong Mountain and me). I have documented this in the book "We Were Soldiers".
I was 'keying' off of him as I knew that he had a better view of the enemy than I had as to where they were coming from. The pilot made several bombing runs also firing his machine guns at very low levels. On his last run he was hit by enemy fire and his fuel tank exploded and caught fire. Just above the tree top he passed by me, his plane trailing smoke and flame. I was less than 50 yards from him and saw his face looking at the LZ and in my direction. He was alive and moving at that time. He disappeared over the trees and out of my sight. He killed many of the enemy and may have saved our battalion. I am extremely grateful for his actions and feel he deserves the MOH for his heroics and sacrifice.
From a US soldier,
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth