Silver Star Medal Awarded to James W. Beaubien, III

James W. Beaubien, III, a resident of Dallas, Texas, is awarded the Silver Star Medal for a mission flown in June 1972 during the Battle of An Loc, Republic of Vietnam, as a United States Air Force Forward Air Controller (FAC).

Dallas, Texas – January 24, 2006 – Approval was announced on January 20, 2006, by the Department of the Air Force of the award of the Silver Star Medal, the nation’s third highest award for valor, to James W. Beaubien, III.. Mr. Beaubien, a native of Ponca City, Oklahoma, and a graduate of Oklahoma State University in 1970, has been a resident of Dallas, Texas, for over 24 years while serving as a pilot for Delta Airlines from which he is now retired.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
James W. Beaubien, III, a resident of Dallas, Texas, is awarded the Silver Star Medal for a mission flown in June 1972 during the Battle of An Loc, Republic of Vietnam, as a United States Air Force Forward Air Controller (FAC).

Dallas, Texas – January 24, 2006 – Approval was announced on January 20, 2006, by the Department of the Air Force of the award of the Silver Star Medal, the nation’s third highest award for valor, to James W. Beaubien, III.. Mr. Beaubien, a native of Ponca City, Oklahoma, and a graduate of Oklahoma State University in 1970, has been a resident of Dallas, Texas, for over 24 years while serving as a pilot for Delta Airlines from which he is now retired.

Mr. Beaubien, then a First Lieutenant in the U. S. Air Force, served as a Forward Air Controller flying the O-2A aircraft. He was temporarily assigned to Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Republic of Vietnam, with the 21st Tactical Air Support Squadron (TASS) during the 1972 spring invasion of that country by North Vietnamese forces. During his tour of duty, Mr. Beaubien flew a total of 167 combat missions.

On June 6, 1972, then First Lieutenant Beaubien flew on a mission to provide close air support for besieged Army of the Republic of Vietnam forces who were accompanied by U. S. Army advisors. Marginal weather conditions prevailed in the area and, despite the loss of navigational aids in his airplane, then Lieutenant Beaubien located the friendly forces and controlled several air strikes that saved the lives of both American and allied forces.

In his recommendation for the award of the Silver Star to James Beaubien, then Lieutenant Colonel Edward J. Stein, Jr., a U. S. Army advisor, stated that Lieutenant Beaubien “inflicted severe losses to enemy men and equipment and allowed friendly units time to regroup…” James H. Willbanks cites in his book, The Battle of An Loc: “In the face of heavy antiaircraft fire and dealing with a low cloud ceiling, Beaubien successfully directed the attack, thereby saving Stein and his entire party.”

The battlefield at An Loc represented the most intense array of enemy antiaircraft weaponry amassed to that date against American aviation assets in South Vietnam. The shoulder fired Strela, a heat seeking missile, was used by the North Vietnamese in addition to .51 caliber machine guns, 23mm, 37mm and radar-controlled 57mm antiaircraft batteries.

Congressional legislation has now made it possible for the Army officer whose life Beaubien saved to advance this recommendation for the award of the Silver Star. The selfless devotion to duty, heroism, and the gallant and conspicuous action displayed by Lieutenant Beaubien reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force. James W. Beaubien, III, is also the recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross and 8 awards of the Air Medal.