John J. Eldridge | Silver Star, first oak leaf cluster
Citation to accompany the award of the Silver Star, first oak leaf cluster, to Master Sergeant John J. Eldridge.
Master Sergeant John J. Eldridge distinguished himself by gallantry in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force on Koh Tang Island in the Gulf of Thailand on 15 May 1975. On that date, Sergeant Eldridge was the Pararescue Specialist of a HH-53C helicopter which flew three sorties spanning more than fourteen hours. Sergeant Eldridge and fellow crew members placed United States Marines aboard the destroyer escort USS Holt and then escorted a damaged aircraft to friendly territory where they recovered its contingent of the United States Marines. They then delivered a contingent of United States Marines to the island despite intensive hostile ground fire. They remained close to the island and provided protective fire for another aircraft and escorted it to safety. Later in the day, they returned to the island and again braved heavy hostile fire to successfully remove a group of United States personnel. This courageous action aided in the recovery of the SS Mayaguez and its crew. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Sergeant Eldridge has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.