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Name (Last, First Middle)Backlund. Donald R.
Branch at time of eventUSAF
Home Town
Home State
High School
High School Activities
Post High School
Academy Experiences
Academic Degree MajorBS - USAFA 1071 MA - Hist, IndUniv 1972
Active Duty Assignments72: MA Hist INUniv: 72HeliTng,FtRucker; 74: FltExmnr 40AR&RSqNakhonPhanomABTH; 75: InstrPlt 1551FTSq HillAFB; 76: InstrPlt/FltExmnr 1551FTSq,KirtlandAFB; 78:Plt 80StuSq SheppardAFB; Plt 358TFTngSqDavisMonthanAFB; 78: PltA-1091TFSq WoodbridgeRAFStnUK: 79:
Civilian PositionsN/A
Award Year1975
Award Summary InformationCaptains Donald R. Backlund and Ronald T. Rand, Class of 1971, distinguished themselves by their heroic exploits during the rescue of the crew and recovery of the SS Mayaguez from hostile Cambodian forces near Koh Tang Island on 15 May L975. Captain Backlund, as the Chief of Standardization Evaluation for the 40 ARRS' was assigned as an HH-53C aircraft commander, and Captain Rand, as the Commander of Det. 12, 601st Photo Sqdn, was assigned to captain Backlundís crew as a combat photographer for the Mayaguez rescue mission. During the rescue operation, Captain Backlund unhesitatingly committed the aircraft and crew to numerous assignments including personnel rescues, offloadings, search and rescue coverages, and escort operations despite extensive battle damage having been sustained by the helicopter. Captain Rand not only provided effective photographic coverage throughout the many assignments involved with the rescue efforts , but also assisted the crew in providing suppressive coverage against the intensely accurate hostile ground fire. For their outstanding display of courage and airmanship, Captain Backlund and Captain Rand have been selected as joint recipients of the 1975 Jabara Award for airmanship.
Involved Crew MembersCaptain Ronald T. Rand
Burial Site/DateUnknown 29 August, 1979
Aeronautical Speciality RatingPilot
Notable Military and Civilian Decorations & AwardsAFC,MSM,AM(2),AFCM Jabara Award
CommentsDeceased: USAF Major.1979,D-29Aug79 AcftAcdt GilaBendGunneryRange AZ
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