Class of 1965
For extraordinary heroism in military operations against an opposing armed force as a Forward Air Controller of the 20th Tactical Air Support Squadron, DaNang Air Base, Vietnam, in action at Mo Duc, Republic of Vietnam, on 16 and 17 September 1972. On that night, Captain Poling flew two sorties in his lightly armed OV-10 reconnaissance aircraft in monsoon weather conditions to support a small allied unit undergoing heavy ground assault by a hostile force twenty times its size. Using every means available, naval and ground artillery, tactical air support, and finally his own light internal ordnance, Captain Poling, in desperation, disregarding extremely intense and accurate anti-aircraft fire, made repeated devastating low level attacks which stopped the hostile advance short of the friendly perimeter. Credited with two hundred and sixty-five confirmed hostile personnel killed, and twenty mortars and guns destroyed before his heavily battle-damaged aircraft was finally shot down, Captain Poling's achievements were recognized by the Ground Commander as having personally saved his position and the lives of one hundred and twenty defenders. Through his superb airmanship, aggressiveness, and extraordinary heroism, Captain Poling reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
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