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AWARDS AND CITATIONS

Distinguished Service Cross

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Major (Armor) John Charles Bahnsen, Jr. (ASN: 0-73597), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam. Major Bahnsen distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 23 January 1969 as Commanding Officer, Air Cavalry Troop, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment. Informed of a sizable enemy force, Major Bahnsen landed at the hostile area, reconnoitered and marked a landing zone for a rifle platoon in full view of the hostile troops. Leaving the site, he saw fifteen communists and engaged them with his rifle, firing from the window of his helicopter. He killed two of the enemy and remained at a low altitude to direct additional fire upon them until his crew chief was seriously wounded by the hostile barrage which struck their ship. Major Bahnsen evacuated the crew chief, refueled and rearmed, and sped back to the battle. Again taking the communists under fire and forcing them to a confined area, he marked their position and directed five air strikes against them, while at the same time controlling four separate rifle platoons. Intense enemy fire crippled his ship[, forcing him to aquifer another aircraft. On his return, Major Bahnsen landed to guide in the lift ships carrying an additional infantry unit, and then led a rifle platoon through dense terrain to personally capture two enemy who were attempting to escape, While the captives were evacuated by helicopter, he remained on the ground and led the squad two kilometers back to friendly positions. Major Bahnsen's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

General Orders: Headquarters, U.S. Army, Vietnam, General Orders No. 1096 (March 31, 1969)

Action Date: January 23, 1969

Service: Army

Rank: Major

Company: Air Cavalry Troop

Regiment: 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment

Silver Star

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 8, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Captain (Armor) John Charles Bahnsen, Jr. (ASN: 0-73597), United States Army, for gallantry in action against the enemy on 2 February 1966 while serving as aircraft commander and fire team commander on an armed UH-1st Battalion helicopter of the 118th Aviation Company, near Vuc Lien, Republic of Vietnam. After making visual reconnaissance and providing overhead cover for the ground forces, Captain Bahnsen landed his fire team in a supposedly secure area. While being briefed by the ground commander, a Viet Cong force ambushed the unit. At this time Captain Bahnsen fearlessly led his fire team through intense automatic weapons fire to their aircraft, took off, daringly attacked the enemy forces, and saved the Marine force from having heavy casualties. When another company was ambushed, Captain Bahnsen aggressively made low level attacks on the Viet Cong positions and, while receiving intense hostile fire, evacuated three critically wounded Marines. Upon returning from the evacuation mission, intense hostile fire was received during a low level reconnaissance flight. Captain Bahnsen dauntlessly made three firing passes on the insurgent positions, called for artillery fire and, after exhausting his ordnance, rearmed and returned to support the Marine force. Captain Bahnsen's courage during ten hours of intense hostile fire was an inspiration to his men and the Marine ground force. Captain Bahnsen's unimpeachable valor in the face of intense fire was in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

Action Date: February 2, 1966

Service: Army

Rank: Captain

Company: 118th Aviation Company

Silver Star

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 8, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Second Award of the Silver Star to Major (Armor) John Charles Bahnsen, Jr. (ASN: 0-73597), United States Army, for gallantry in action while engaged in military operations involving conflicts with an armed hostile forces on 17 October 1968 while serving as the Commanding Officer of the Air Cavalry Troop of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, in the Republic of Vietnam. On this date elements of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment engaged a company-sized North Vietnamese force within the Ba Da secret zone. During the firefight, the friendly force began receiving an intense concentration of automatic weapons fire from the numerically superior enemy force and immediately called for reinforcements. With the arrival of the friendly reinforcements, the hostile elements began withdrawing into the dense jungle terrain. One platoon from the 2d Mechanized Infantry Regiment and one aero rifle platoon pursued the enemy elements for two kilometers, until they were suddenly engaged by heavy automatic weapons fire from well-concealed positions. Observing the enemy force from the air, Major Bahnsen began directing highly-accurate suppressive fire into the North Vietnamese Army positions. After making a number of passes, landed Major Bahnsen positioned himself in front of the friendly forces, in full view of the enemy elements, and began directing his troop's advancement on the hostile positions. He was forced to seek cover when his position was raked by a barrage of automatic weapons fire, but after directing his gunship's fire onto the enemy force, he again exposed himself to the enemy fire and with shouts of encouragement to his men, led them on an all-out assault on the North Vietnamese positions, completely overrunning and destroying the hostile elements. Major Bahnsen's exceptional courage and aggressive leadership wore in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.

General Orders: Headquarters, II Field Force Vietnam, General Orders No. 97 (January 14, 1969)

Action Date: October 17, 1968

Service: Army

Rank: Major

Company: Air Cavalry Troop

Regiment: 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment

Silver Star

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 8, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting a Second Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Third Award of the Silver Star to Major (Armor) John Charles Bahnsen, Jr. (ASN: 0-73597), United States Army, for gallantry in action while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force on 3 February 1969 while serving as the Commanding Officer of the Air Cavalry Troop of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, in the Republic of Vietnam. On this date while he was conducting a routine reconnaissance mission, his aircraft suddenly began receiving heavy automatic weapons fire from a well-concealed and heavily-fortified enemy base camp. Reacting instantly, Major Bahnsen returned to his base of operations, quickly assembled his Aero Rifle Platoon, and returned to the contact area. After beginning an assault upon the hostile position, he realized that the hostile fire was larger than he had anticipated. He therefore called his troops back and established a cordon around the hostile fortification. For the next three hours, Major Bahnsen, under constant enemy fire, directed air and artillery strikes against the enemy forces from his low flying aircraft. While directing the bombardment of the area, he requested that a tank company and an armored cavalry assault vehicles arrived, he directed them into an assault formation and, disregarding his personal safety, flew his aircraft at treetop level over the enemy positions in order to effectively direct the final assault on the enemy base camp. When the hostile fortifications had been overrun, Major Bahnsen observed a number of enemy troops attempting to flee from the friendly forces. He immediately landed his helicopter and directed an assaulted upon the retreating enemy soldiers, killing one and capturing another. Major Bahnsen's courage and dedication to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.

General Orders: Headquarters, II Field Force Vietnam, General Orders No. 745 (March 23, 1969)

Action Date: February 3, 1969

Service: Army

Rank: Major

Company: Air Cavalry Troop

Regiment: 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment

Silver Star

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 8, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting a Third Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Fourth Award of the Silver Star to Major (Armor) John Charles Bahnsen, Jr. (ASN: 0-73597), United States Army, for gallantry in action on 29 May 1969, while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force while serving as Commanding Officer of the 1st Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, in the Republic of Vietnam. When one of his troops was stopped by heavy enemy fire and dense jungle, Major Bahnsen directed the ground action as he made low passes over the contact area directing artillery, air strikes and helicopter gunships against an entrenched enemy bunker complex. Although his aircraft was repeatedly hit by ground fire, he refused to leave the area or fly at a higher altitude. After being forced to make an emergency landing at his base camp, he mounted a mechanized flame thrower and with his headquarters command group of cavalry assault vehicles moved under an air strike and through intense enemy fire to the point of heaviest contact. There he reorganized his ground teams by shouting instructions and encouragement to his troops. After expending his flame thrower against bunkers, Major Bahnsen led a dismounted attack against one bunker, clearing it with his rifle. Realizing the need for additional force, he then called in air strikes. As the enemy broke contact, Major Bahnsen then organized a hasty defensive position for the night among the enemy bunkers. Major Bahnsen's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.

General Orders: Headquarters, II Field Force Vietnam, General Orders No. 3191 (October 24, 1969), Amended by G.O. 2467 (1970)

Action Date: May 29, 1969

Service: Army

Rank: Major

Company: 1st Squadron

Regiment: 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment

Silver Star

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 8, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting a Fourth Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Fifth Award of the Silver Star to Major (Armor) John Charles Bahnsen, Jr. (ASN: 0-73597), United States Army, for gallantry in action while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force on 6 September 1969 while serving as Commanding Officer of the 1st Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, in the Republic of Vietnam. On this date Major Bahnsen was flying in his command and control helicopter when he was informed of contact involving one of the squadron's troops nearby. He made low-level flights over the area while helping to direct the ground forces. Learning that the troop commander had been seriously wounded, he directed his pilot to land. When he landed, he discovered five prisoners had been captured and he helped to load them on the ship with the commander. Major Bahnsen remained on the ground to direct the forces. Mounting an armored cavalry assault vehicle, he led his men, forcing the enemy to break contact and resulting in sixty-nine enemy killed in action. Major Bahnsen's actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.

General Orders: Headquarters, II Field Force Vietnam, General Orders No. 3528 (October 29, 1969), Amended by G.O. 2475 (1970)

Action Date: September 6, 1969

Service: Army

Rank: Major

Company: Headquarters, 1st Squadron

Regiment: 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment

Legion of Merit

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, 20 July 1942, takes pleasure in presenting the Legion of Merit to Major (Armor) John Charles Bahnsen, Jr. (ASN: 0-73597), United States Army, for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States during the period September 1968 to September 1969 while serving consecutively as Commanding Officer, Air Cavalry Troop and as Commanding Officer, 1st Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, II Field Force Vietnam. Demonstrating remarkable leadership abilities and rare judgment, Major Bahnsen came to be known as the hallmark of professional skill and competence while serving as Commanding Officer, Air Cavalry Troop. His inherent ability to grasp and analyze problems of grave and far-reaching consequence enabled him to render flawless decisions. He provided firm and positive command and technical guidance to his staff and unit commanders while at the same time allowing them sufficient latitude to develop operating procedures peculiar to their particular areas of operation. As Commanding Officer, 1st Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, Major Bahnsen displayed a high level of foresight and organizational ability which proved instrumental in the unit's unprecedented level of accomplishment during a critical period of combat activity. Through his initiative, resourcefulness, adaptability to change and readiness to resort to the expedient, he has materially contributed to the Free World effort in the Republic of Vietnam. Major Bahnsen's professional competence and outstanding achievements are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.

Action Date: September 1968 - September 1969

Service: Army

Rank: Major

Company: Air Cavalry Troop

Regiment: 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment

Legion of Merit

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Awarded for actions during the Peace Time Awards

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, 20 July 1942, takes pleasure in presenting a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Second Award of the Legion of Merit to Colonel (Armor) John Charles Bahnsen, Jr. (ASN: 0-73597), United States Army, for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service in positions of great responsibility while serving as Chief, Combat Communications System Study Group, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Combat Developments, Headquarters, United States Army Training and Doctrine Command, Fort Monroe, Virginia, from December 1976 to April 1977. His efforts are conspicuous in their merit, demonstrating those traits so necessary in meeting the challenges of a truly professional Army. Colonel Bahnsen's distinguished performance of duty throughout this period represents outstanding achievement in the finest traditions of the United States Army and reflects the utmost credit upon himself and the military service.

Action Date: December 1976 - April 1977

Service: Army

Rank: Colonel

Legion of Merit

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Awarded for actions during the Peace Time Awards

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, 20 July 1942, takes pleasure in presenting a Second Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Third Award of the Legion of Merit to Brigadier General John Charles Bahnsen, Jr. (ASN: 0-73597), United States Army, for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States as Chief of Staff, Headquarters, Combined Field Army (ROK/US) from August 1982 to September 1984. During this period he was directly instrumental in improving the capability of Combined Forces to defend successfully against a North Korean attack. His daring, innovative techniques coupled with his unparalleled ability to foster and sustain outstanding interoperability significantly improved the combat readiness of this Command's maneuver forces. Because he so ably served, the reputation and prestige of the Combined Field Army are unmatched by any other command in this theater. Brigadier General Bahnsen's outstanding performance of duty is in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflects great credit upon him, this Command, and the United States Army.

Action Date: August 1982 - September 1984

Service: Army

Rank: Brigadier General

Legion of Merit

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Awarded for actions during the Peace Time Awards

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, 20 July 1942, takes pleasure in presenting a Third Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Fourth Award of the Legion of Merit to Brigadier General John Charles Bahnsen, Jr. (ASN: 0-73597), United States Army, for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States during a military career spanning 30 years culminating in his assignment as the Chief of Staff of III Mobile Armored Corps and Fort Hood. Brigadier General Bahnsen guided the smooth and productive integration of the daily activities of a Corps exercising peacetime control of two armored division, five separate brigades and a large support command. His thoughtful innovations in management matters resulted in scores of programs and actions which consolidated and streamlined the myriad of complex activities involved in a staff of this size. His insistence on total commitment to precision and perfection in all endeavors was largely responsible for Fort Hood's reputation as the seedbed for new ideas. Brigadier General Bahnsen's distinguished performance and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest standards of achievement that have been his hallmark reflecting the utmost credit on him and the United States Army.

Action Date: 1984 - 1986

Service: Army

Rank: Brigadier General

Distinguished Flying Cross

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 2, 1926, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Captain (Armor) John Charles Bahnsen, Jr. (ASN: 0-73597), United States Army, for heroism while participating in aerial flight evidenced by voluntary action above and beyond the call of duty in the Republic of Vietnam. Major Bahnsen distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 22 May 1966 while serving as pilot of a UH-1D helicopter in support of a combat mission near Cu Chi. While flying with limited visibility on a low level reconnaissance flight, Major Bahnsen observed a Viet Cong squad in the open approximately two miles from the perimeter of an American base camp. He immediately conducted five firing passes on the Viet Cong and directed the suppressive fire of his door gunners. As he continued his firing passes, Major Bahnsen discovered an estimated two Viet Cong companies who were directing fire at his aircraft. Although the fire became increasingly intense and his helicopter received several hits, Major Bahnsen fearlessly marked the insurgent position with smoke and directed a light fire team to engage the Viet Cong. After both helicopters of the light fire team were hit and departed the area, Major Bahnsen, with complete disregard for his safety, remained in the area to adjust artillery fire and air strikes on the hostile force. After refueling, Major Bahnsen piloted his helicopter back to the battle area and flew through intense Viet Cong ground fire while marking the insurgent positions for the advancing American ground force. Through his courage he disrupted a potential attack on the American base camp and contributed immeasurably to the defeat of the Viet Cong force. Major Bahnsen's outstanding flying ability and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.

General Orders: Headquarters, U.S. Army Vietnam, General Orders No. 6464 (November 23, 1966)

Action Date: May 22, 1966

Service: Army

Rank: Captain

Company: 118th Aviation Company (AML)

Regiment: 1st Aviation Brigade

Distinguished Flying Cross

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 2, 1926, takes pleasure in presenting a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Second Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross to Major (Armor) John Charles Bahnsen, Jr. (ASN: 0-73597), United States Army, for heroism while participating in aerial flight evidenced by voluntary action above and beyond the call of duty on 29 October 1968 while serving as the Commanding Officer of the Air Cavalry Troop, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, in the Republic of Vietnam. On this date in the vicinity of Chanh Lau, Major Bahnsen was leading the combined elements of his troop against an estimated Viet Cong platoon. While conducting the search operation the Aero Rifle Platoon came under intense automatic weapons fire from the hostile force. Despite the fact that two of the troop's scout helicopters had received hits, Major Bahnsen maneuvered his aircraft to an extremely low altitude and delivered highly-accurate machine gun fire upon the elements. He continued his courageous actions, inflicting numerous casualties and enabling the friendly ground forces to assault and overrun the enemy. Major Bahnsen's unwavering courage, devotion to duty and disregard of personal safety were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.

General Orders: Headquarters, II Field Force Vietnam, General Orders No. 451 (February 17, 1969)

Action Date: October 29, 1968

Service: Army

Rank: Major

Company: Air Cavalry Troop

Regiment: 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment

Distinguished Flying Cross

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 2, 1926, takes pleasure in presenting a Second Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Third Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross to Major (Armor) John Charles Bahnsen, Jr. (ASN: 0-73597), United States Army, for heroism while participating in aerial flight evidenced by voluntary action above and beyond the call of duty on 1 December 1968, while serving as the Commanding Officer of the Air Cavalry Troop, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, in the Republic of Vietnam. On this date while serving as a helicopter commander, he directed an assault upon a well-entrenched force. After inserting the troop's Aero Rifle Platoon, Major Bahnsen directed is aircraft through intense enemy fire to mark the enemy positions for airstrikes. Upon completion of the airstrikes he directed a ground assault on the hostile fortifications. When additional helicopters arrived at the scene later in the day to re-supply the ground troops with ammunition, the supply ships immediately came under intense enemy fire and one helicopter was shot down. Disregarding his personal safety, Major Bahnsen directed his helicopter through the heavy enemy anti-aircraft fire in order to locate the downed aircraft and direct the evacuation of its crew. After ensuring that the men were safe, he called for and adjusted artillery fire upon the enemy positions. Major Bahnsen's outstanding courage and dedication to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.

General Orders: Headquarters, II Field Force Vietnam, General Orders No. 1119 (May 7, 1969)

Action Date: December 1, 1968

Service: Army

Rank: Major

Company: Air Cavalry Troop

Regiment: 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment