"Above the Best"
Army Aviation Hall of Fame 1990 Induction
Congressional Medal of Honor Citation:
MAJ William E. Adams distinguished himself on May 25, 1971, when he
volunteered to fly a lightly armed helicopter in an attempt to evacuate
three seriously wounded Soldiers from a small fire base in Kontum
Province in the Republic of Vietnam, which was under attack by a large
Adams, assigned to A/227th Assault Helicopter Company, 52d Aviation
Battalion, 1st Aviation Brigade, made the decision with full knowledge
that numerous anti-aircraft weapons were positioned around the base and
that the clear weather would afford the enemy gunners unobstructed view
of all routes into the base.
As he approached the base, the enemy gunners opened fire with heavy machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and small arms.
Undaunted by the fusillade, he continued his approach determined to accomplish the mission.
Displaying tremendous courage under fire, he calmly directed the
attacks of supporting gunships while maintaining absolute control of the
helicopter he was flying.
He landed the aircraft at the fire base despite the ever-increasing
enemy fire and calmly waited until the wounded Soldiers were placed on
As Adam's aircraft departed from the fire base, it was struck and
seriously damaged by enemy anti-aircraft fire and began descending.
Flying with exceptional skill, he immediately regained control of the crippled aircraft and attempted a controlled landing.
Despite his valiant efforts, the helicopter exploded, overturned, and plummeted to earth amid the hail of enemy fire.
Adams' conspicuous gallantry, intrepidity, and humanitarian regard
for his fellow man were in keeping with the most cherished traditions of
the military service and reflected utmost credit on him and the U.S.
Editor's note: Vice President Gerald Ford presented Adam's
posthumously awarded Medal of Honor to his family on Aug. 8, 1974. Adams
is interned in Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver County, Colo.