Backlund, Donald Roy, Maj

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
Last AFSC Group
Primary Unit
1979-1979, 1021A, Air Training Command
Service Years
1971 - 1979

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SSgt Robert Bruce McClelland, Jr. to remember Backlund, Donald Roy, Maj.

If you knew or served with this Airman and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Contact Info
Home Town
Kenosha, Wisconsin
Last Address
New Mexico

Date of Passing
Aug 29, 1979
Location of Interment
United States Air Force Academy Cemetery - Colorado Springs, Colorado
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Plot: 003 B 014

 Official Badges 

Combat Rescue Officer Combat Crew Air Training Command Instructor (post-1966)

 Unofficial Badges 

Cold War Medal

 Military Association Memberships
In the Line of DutyAir Force Memorial (AFM)
  2014, In the Line of Duty
  2016, Air Force Memorial (AFM) - Assoc. Page

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

He was awarded the Air Force Cross for his actions during the operation to rescue the crew of the SS Mayaguez in Apr 1975. He was attending A-10A Thunderbolt II conversion training when he was killed during an A-10 training flight at the Gila Bend Gunnery Range in Gila Bend, AZ. At the time of his death, he was getting ready for his next assignment as an A-10 pilot with the 91st Tactical Fighter Squadron at RAF Woodbridge, England. He was posthumously promoted to Major, and was buried at the Air Force Academy Cemetery on Sep 5, 1979.  

His AF Cross citation reads:
Awarded for actions during the S.S. Mayaguez Incident

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Title 10, Section 8742, United States Code, takes pleasure in presenting the Air Force Cross to First Lieutenant Donald R. Backlund, United States Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in military operations against an opposing armed force as a Helicopter Aircraft Commander of an HH-53 Helicopter of the 40th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand, in action on 15 May 1975 at Koh Tang Island, Cambodia. On that date, while engaged in the recovery of the S.S. MAYAGUEZ and crew, Lieutenant Backlund, exhibiting superb airmanship, placed a contingent of United States Marines aboard the destroyer escort, U.S.S. HOLT. He then successfully landed several United States Marines on Koh Tang Island despite intense ground fire. After escorting his wingman to the U.S.S. CORAL SEA, Lieutenant Backlund then returned to Koh Tang Island and successfully recovered a group of United States Marines and airmen although encountering heavy, consistent ground fire. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of hostile forces, Lieutenant Backlund reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

General Orders: Department of the Air Force, Special Order GB-583 (July 14, 1975)

Action Date: May 15, 1975

Service: Air Force

Rank: First Lieutenant

Company: 40th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron

Division: Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand


Other Comments:
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  1971-1972, Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT)

Second Lieutenant
From Month/Year
June / 1971
To Month/Year
January / 1972
Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) Unit Page
Second Lieutenant
Not Specified
 Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) Details

Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT)
Garrison - Training Command
Parent Unit
Air University
Formal School
Created/Owned By
Not Specified

Last Updated: Aug 28, 2016
My Photos For This Unit
No Available Photos
36 Members Also There at Same Time
Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT)

Dierker, Ronald, Lt Col, (1963-1984) 661 6616 Lieutenant Colonel
Bender, James, Maj, (1964-1984) 00 Major
Bone, Gary, Lt Col, (1965-1990) 662 6624 Captain
Buth, Jonathan, Col, (1968-1995) 905 9056 Captain
Cochran, Thomas, Col, (1966-1993) 402 4024 Captain
Dowling, Alan, Col, (1969-2007) 174 1744E Captain
Estes, Don, Maj, (1965-1985) 300 3 Captain
Pflaum, Dale, Maj, (1962-1982) 262 2625B Captain
Swick, Bill, Lt Col, (1965-1985) 00 Captain
Wiedeman, Geoffrey, Maj Gen, (1969-2002) 902 9021 Captain
Wiedeman, Geoffrey, Maj Gen, (1969-2002) 902 9021 First Lieutenant
Christophel, Robert, Capt, (1958-1980) 285 2851A Second Lieutenant
Shiffrin, Jim, Maj, (1966-1990) 261 Second Lieutenant
Sprovero, Ronald, Col, (1969-1997) 552 5521C Second Lieutenant
Friedl, Raymond, Capt, (1961-1983) 990 99010 Technical Sergeant
Hannon, Edward, Capt, (1960-1983) 306 Technical Sergeant
Theriault, Joseph R. T., Capt, (1959-1981) 990 99017 Technical Sergeant
Harland, Jim, SSgt, (1968-1972) 732 73250 Staff Sergeant
Nagle, Ray, Maj, (1966-1986) 990 99010 Staff Sergeant
Sacksteder, John, Capt, (1964-1984) 990 99000 Staff Sergeant
Smyth, Bill, SSgt, (1968-1975) 990 99000 Staff Sergeant
White, Jack, Maj, (1964-1986) 00 Staff Sergeant
Bates, Kenneth A., Sgt, (1972-1978) 702 Sergeant
Gaines, Mike, MSgt, (1972-1995) 732 73230 Airman
King, Johnny, Sgt, (1971-1975) 906 90630 Airman
Kleinstub, Paul, Col, (1966-1986) Major
Bennett, Forrest, Lt Col, (1955-1980) Captain
Pandolfo, Michael, Lt Col, (1968-2009) Captain
Voit, Louis, Lt Col, (1962-1983) Captain
Arentz, Eric G., Capt, (1959-1984) First Lieutenant
Cole, Everett, Maj, (1968-1997) Staff Sergeant
Kimble, Gregory, MSgt, (1970-1993) Airman
Civil Engineering and Services School

Goodwin, Stephen, MSgt, (1971-1991) 553 55330 Airman
Robinson, Ricky, MSgt, (1972-1993) 991 99127 Airman
Graduate School of Engineering and Management

Bluford, Guion Stewart, Col, (1964-1993) 102 1021A Major
Theriault, Joseph R. T., Capt, (1959-1981) 282 2821A Second Lieutenant
Noblitt, Jim, Lt Col, (1954-1982) Major
School of Systems and Logistics

Dickson, Jim, Lt Col, (1967-1988) 642 6424 First Lieutenant

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