Col Michael Yunck

Marine Colonel Michael R. Yunck, 47, as operations officer of the First Marine Air Wing, helped plan Operation Harvest Moon; later he went out on a four-man armed "Huey" helicopter, directing fighter bomber attacks south of Danang.  He was about to call in a strike on a tiny, nameless hamlet when he looked down.  His chopper was low enough for him to see women and children.  It was also low enough for a Viet Cong machine gunner to sight in on the Huey.  Because of the women and children, "I knew I couldn't call in a strike," said Yunck soon afterward.  "And that was when I got the fifty caliber."  Commented a surgeon, "He's going to lose his leg because he was too compassionate."

Military awards included two awards of the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal (3 awards), Bronze Star, and the Purple Heart.  Recipient of the Alfred A. Cunningham Trophy as Marine Aviator of the Year 1963.  A coveted Marine award, The Mike Yunck Perpetual Trophy award honoring his reputation as the "best of the best" has been given annually for the past thirty years.

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