The Dalles resident and decorated Navy Vietnam veteran Michael J. Fargher was inducted into the prestigious Enlisted Combat Aircrew Roll of Honor on November 15, 2002 aboard the USS Yorktown, a Naval museum at Patriot’s Point, Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
During the Vietnam War, Fargher was a Navy airman flying as a door gunner with Helicopter Attack (Light) Squadron Three, HA(L)3, Detachment Eight.
Known as the Seawolves, HA(L)3 is the most decorated Navy unit in Naval history. The Roll of Honor is reserved for Navy, Marine and Coast Guard Combat Air Crewman who distinguished themselves in aerial and ground combat. Airman Fargher was nominated by a ship mate and fellow gunner, Senior Chief Bill Rutledge, from San Diego, Calif.
Fargher was selected by the Roll of Honor board for induction for his heroism and bravery while flying 351 combat missions in Vietnam and Cambodia in 1969 and 1970.
Airman Fargher was assigned to the Seawolves Detachment Eight.
His two heavily armed Helo Gunships were armed with rockets, side-mounted mini-guns fired by his pilots, with two enlisted door gunners firing free M-60 machine guns or a door-mounted .50 caliber weapon.
Many different missions were cited in Airman Fargher’s nomination, one of which happened on May 9, 1970 when he was recommended for the Distinguished flying Cross.
Fargher’s two helicopter fire teams were in low-level attack strikes in the front of Marine ground forces to let them take back the Cambodian town of Ph Koah Chek and destroy a huge enemy staging complex.
As soon as the Marines hit the town, they became involved in hand-to-hand combat. His Seawolf Detachment Fireteam was scrambled and as the Marines marked their forward positions Airman Fargher aimed a barrage of machine gun fire while leaning outside of his gunship exposed to heavy fire.
Flying eight combat missions that day. Fargher was lauded for his heroism in saving the lives of many of the men in the Marine ground force.
Airman Fargher was decorated with two Single Action Air Medals for Valor, 11 Strike/Flight Air Medals, two Navy Commendation Medals for Valor, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with star for Heroism, and six other personal awards and Unit Citations. He was awarded the coveted Navy Combat Air Crew Wings and is one of very few Navy personnel allowed to wear both Navy and Army Air Crew Wings.
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