Stephen Wesley Pless

Photo added by Ron Moody

Stephen Wesley Pless

Newnan, Coweta County, Georgia, USA
Death 20 Jul 1969 (aged 29)
Pensacola, Escambia County, Florida, USA
Burial Pensacola, Escambia County, Florida, USA
Plot Section 21, Grave 929A
Memorial ID 7024925 View Source
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Vietnam War Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. He served in the United States Marine Corps during the war in Vietnam as a Major in the VMD-6, Mag-36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. He was awarded the CMOH for his bravery near Quang Nai, Republic of Vietnam, on August 19, 1967. His citation reads "For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a helicopter gunship pilot attached to Marine Observation Squadron 6 in action against enemy forces. During an escort mission Maj. Pless monitored an emergency call that 4 American soldiers stranded on a nearby beach were being overwhelmed by a large Viet Cong force. Maj. Pless flew to the scene and found 30 to 50 enemy soldiers in the open. Some of the enemy were bayoneting and beating the downed Americans. Maj. Pless displayed exceptional airmanship as he launched a devastating attack against the enemy force, killing or wounding many of the enemy and driving the remainder back into a treeline. His rocket and machinegun attacks were made at such low levels that the aircraft flew through debris created by explosions from its rockets. Seeing 1 of the wounded soldiers gesture for assistance, he maneuvered his helicopter into a position between the wounded men and the enemy, providing a shield which permitted his crew to retrieve the wounded. During the rescue the enemy directed intense fire at the helicopter and rushed the aircraft again and again, closing to within a few feet before being beaten back. When the wounded men were aboard, Maj. Pless maneuvered the helicopter out to sea. Before it became safely airborne, the overloaded aircraft settled 4 times into the water. Displaying superb airmanship, he finally got the helicopter aloft. Major Pless' extraordinary heroism coupled with his outstanding flying skill prevented the annihilation of the tiny force. His courageous actions reflect great credit upon himself and uphold the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service". He was awarded his Medal on January 16, 1969 by President Lyndon B. Johnson at a ceremony in the White House in Washington, DC. He died later that year in a motorcycle accident in Pensacola, Florida.

Bio by: grave hunter


SEP 6 1939
JUL 20 1969

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: grave hunter
  • Added: 20 Dec 2002
  • Find a Grave Memorial 7024925
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Stephen Wesley Pless (6 Sep 1939–20 Jul 1969), Find a Grave Memorial ID 7024925, citing Barrancas National Cemetery, Pensacola, Escambia County, Florida, USA ; Maintained by Find a Grave .