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Hougland, William James

William J. (Bill) Hougland. Major (Retired) Was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism while participating in aerial flight on March 21, 1967 as the pilot of and OH 23 G while serving with the 25th Infantry Division Artillery Aviation Section, 25th Infantry Division in the Republic of South Vietnam. Fire support base “Gold” in War Zone C was subjected to a major assault by and estimated five battalions of Viet Cong main force units. Warrant Officer Hougland was alerted to fly the division artillery commander to the scene of the battle. In spite of dense, low level clouds, Warrant Officer Hougland piloted the helicopter and arrived at the scene of the battle. Artillery was firing from two different directions into the battle area and an air strike was in progress east of the fire support base. Several other light aircraft were over the area directing the air strikes, adjusting artillery fire, and guiding mechanized units to the relief of the embattled base. The low cloud ceiling made it impossible for these aircraft to vertical dispersion and forced Warrant Officer Hougland to fly at altitude where he was constantly exposed to heavy ground fire from the attacking force. Warrant Officer Hougland calmly flew his helicopter to points of maximum vantage. He skillfully avoided other aircraft in the area and totally ignored the dangers from artillery fire and ground fire from the Viet Cong as he courageously kept his helicopter positioned for maximum observation. When the enemy had been driven back sufficiently to eliminate small arms fire on the fire support base, Warrant Officer Hougland made a dangerous decent, passing over the hostile area at a low altitude and landed in the fire support base. Major Hougland was born and raised in Washington State with one younger sister. He graduated from Entiat, Washington High School in May 1962 and enlisted in the Army in October 1962. In July 1966 he graduated from the U.S. Army’s Warrant Officer Rotary Wing Aviator course and was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division in The Republic of South Vietnam. During his second tour in Vietnam he received a direct commission to First Lieutenant. Bill retired with the rank of Major in 1982. His last assignment was with the Research and Development Laboratory, U.S. Army Missile Command. Following retirement he worked in the defense industry. He and his wife still reside in Huntsville.