Stitt, Harold William

Harold Stitt was born on 8 December 1942 in Pennsylvania. He entered active duty in February 1966 at Altoona, Pennsylvania. He earned his wings after graduating from Warrant Office Flight School in 1967 and was assigned to the 1st Aviation Brigade in Vietnam that same year. On 20 September 1967, Warrant Officer Stitt was an aircraft commander during a night assault on a Viet Cong infested area north of Tan Trudgen's, Republic of Vietnam. Learning that his platoon was engaged in heavy contact and had lost one aircraft to enemy ground fire, he unhesitantly volunteered to fly in another lift ship to support his platoon. Extremely intense enemy ground fire was received and his aircraft was hit on the right side and he was struck in the left leg by shrapnel when he entered the landing zone. He safely landed in the obscure and dark landing zone and realizing the necessity for a second lift, insisted to make a final insertion into he same landing zone. Upon completion of the mission he was evacuated to Tan An where he received medical attention. Warrant Officer Stitt's heroic actions earned him the nation's highest award for heroism while participating in an aerial flight, the Distinguished Flying Cross. He also earned the Purple Heart for his combat wounds during this action. Early the next year, on January 25, Warrant Officer Stitt was serving as aircraft commander of a troop carrying helicopter, engaged in the extraction of an allied unit that had been pinned down by an enemy force near Tan Tru. On the first lift of a two lift extraction, his aircraft came under extremely intense automatic weapons and recoiless rifle fire. He deftly maneuvered his aircraft thought the intense hostile fire and safely landed. Once the troops were onboard. Warrant Officer Stitt skillfully flew his heavily laden aircraft our of the landing zone to safety. On the second lift, the enemy was much more prepared and his aircraft came under an even greater barrage of enemy automatic weapons and recoiless rifle fire. He again maneuvered his aircraft though the curtain of fire and safely landed to pick up his troops. On takeoff, his aircraft was engulfed in enemy fire and round after round slammed into his ship, one of them wounding an allied soldier on board the aircraft. He safely flew his aircraft out of the pickup zone. His bravery in action earned Warrant Officer Stitt his second award of the Distinguished Flying Cross. On 1 March 1968, while in the combat zone, Warrant Officer Stitt received a direct commission as second lieutenant in the Infantry. He later qualified as a Cobra Gunship Aviator and then as an Army Project Manager. Major Harold Stitt retired from the Army in 1987 at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.