1 January 1969
SFC Rodney Yano
Air Cavalry Troop, 11th ACR
Near Bien Hao, Republic of Vietnam.
SFC Yano was flying as crew chief and left door gunner on the Regimental command and control helicopter during action against enemy forces entrenched in dense jungle.
He delivered suppressive fire upon the enemy forces and marked their positions with smoke and white phosphorous grenades, making it possible to apply effective artillery. He continued to provide suppressing fire for ground troops from his position in the door of his Huey.
A White Phosphorus grenade, exploded prematurely covering SFC Yano with burning phosphorous. Ammunition and other ordinance began to cook-off, and in spite of his severe wounds, and the fact he was virtually blind and on fire; Yano went into action.
Thick white smoke filled the aircraft obscuring view making it impossible for the Pilot to control the Aircraft.
Although he had lost the use of one arm and was half-blinded by burns, SFC Yano started chucking burning ordinance from the helicopter. In spite of additional burns and wounds from ordinance cooking off, SFC Yano stayed the course and save both his crew and aircraft.
An excerpt from SFC. Yano’s MOH citation states…
SFC Yano’s indomitable courage and profound concern for his comrades averted loss of life and additional injury to the rest of the crew. By his conspicuous gallantry at the cost of his life…”