Vietnam veteran enabled the rescue of downed fighter pilot

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Retired U.S. Air Force Major Joseph L. Viviano, Jr. entered service from Louisiana and served on active duty for twenty-one years. Major Vivanio is the recipient of two awards of the Distinguished Flying Cross.

On August 23 and again on September 2, 1968, he distinguished himself by performing acts of heroism while participating in aerial flight in the Republic of Vietnam. On August 23, he flew his unarmed helicopter into an extremely hostile area from which he had just received ground fire while attempting the rescue of a downed fighter pilot near a U.S. Army Special Forces camp. By hovering over the scene of the rescue, he drew enemy fire toward his own aircraft, enabling the rescue party to reach safety.

On September 2, he repeatedly flew his helicopter gunship through intense enemy ground fire deep within enemy territory to relieve a seven-man Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol that was on the verge of being overrun. His courageous and aggressive attack disorganized the enemy forces sufficiently to allow the rescue of the patrol.

Source: Madison County Military Hall Of Heroes

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