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Hoerle, Arno

Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Arno Hoerle entered service from his home state of Missouri and served on active duty for twenty-five years. Colonel Hoerle is the recipient of two awards of the Distinguished Flying Cross. On 11 May and again on 26 May 1968 he distinguished himself by performing acts of heroism while participating in aerial flight in the Republic of Vietnam. On 11 May, while piloting an unarmed UH- 1H helicopter in support of combat operations near Saigon, he received a call to perform a medical evacuation for several wounded troops. He flew low through the bad weather and encountered fierce automatic weapons fire from enemy positions. Once on the ground he and his co-pilot suppressed the enemy fire with their M-16 rifles while his crew made six trips to retrieve and load the wounded personnel. After the evacuation was complete, he again entered the hostile zone to delivery ammunition, but his aircraft took a bullet in the engine and he was forced to make an emergency landing at the command post. On 26 May, while serving as air mission commander, he was assigned to perform an extraction for a Special Forces reconnaissance team. Disregarding his own safety and flying in adverse weather conditions that included thunderstorms, he used instrumentation to locate the team, directed suppressive fire against the enemy and flew dangerously low to divert enemy attention and fire away from the rescue helicopter. His courage and flying ability made it possible for a successful extraction.