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


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  1972-1972, 1021A, Air Training Command

Second Lieutenant
From Month/Year
January / 1972
To Month/Year
October / 1972
Air Training Command Unit Page
Second Lieutenant
Fort Rucker
 Air Training Command Details

Air Training Command
Garrison - Training Command
Parent Unit
School Assignments
Formal School
Created/Owned By
Not Specified

Last Updated: Sep 4, 2018
My Photos For This Unit
No Available Photos
56 Members Also There at Same Time
Air Training Command

Taylor, William, Capt, (1968-1974) 102 1025A Captain
Cline, Dannie, Sgt, (1971-1975) 328 32853 Sergeant
Gifford, Richard, Lt Col, (1952-1972) 135 1355B Lieutenant Colonel
Murray, Russ, Capt, (1967-1972) 105 1055C Captain
McComas, Cleo W, CMSgt, (1948-1972) 704 70490 Chief Master Sergeant
Bobicchio, Claudio, SMSgt, (1952-1975) 432 43291 Senior Master Sergeant
Jones, Gary, SMSgt, (1953-1974) 322 32290 Senior Master Sergeant
Ward, Gilbert, SMSgt, (1954-1976) 324 32490 Senior Master Sergeant
Torres, Pedro, MSgt, (1972-1996) 3A 3A0X1 Master Sergeant
Gorman, Richard, MSgt, (1962-1982) 791 79170 Master Sergeant
Asbury, Floyd Alan, CMSgt, (1965-1985) 317 31770 Technical Sergeant
Beadle, David, TSgt, (1954-1974) 322 32271 Technical Sergeant
Fleming, Karl, CMSgt, (1956-1985) 702 70270 Technical Sergeant
Hartley, Christopher, TSgt, (1966-1976) 647 64770 Staff Sergeant
Hiles, Kenneth, SSgt, (1969-1974) 421 42173 Staff Sergeant
Huber, Jim, MSgt, (1965-1986) 672 67252 Staff Sergeant
Jones, David, SSgt, (1969-1977) 421 42173 Staff Sergeant
Kent, Raymon, SSgt, (1967-1972) 462 46250 Staff Sergeant
King, James, SSgt, (1968-1972) 422 42270 Staff Sergeant
Kreidler, Ulrich, SSgt, (1966-1976) 328 32874 Staff Sergeant
Mancini, Dan, SMSgt, (1970-1998) 605 60551 Staff Sergeant
ONeill, Michael, SMSgt, (1967-1989) 685 68570 Staff Sergeant
Passmore, Henry, SMSgt, (1967-1989) 462 46250 Staff Sergeant
Vause, Jim, SSgt, (1967-1992) 431 43151 Staff Sergeant
Watterson, Kenny, SSgt, (1969-1973) 431 43151C Staff Sergeant
Baker, Daryl, Capt, (1971-1992) 904 90450 Sergeant
Eldred, Jerry, Sgt, (1970-1973) 990 99000 Sergeant
Hassenfratz, Wally, Sgt, (1968-1972) 432 43250 Sergeant
Hill, Billy, Sgt, (1971-1975) 325 32550 Sergeant
King, Johnny, Sgt, (1971-1975) 906 90650 Sergeant
Muniz- Rivera, Luis, Sgt, (1968-1972) A01 AAF MOS 747 Sergeant
Pearce, Donald, Sgt, (1970-1974) 473 47350 Sergeant
Tidwell, Terry, Sgt, (1972-1976) 730 73030 Sergeant
Tonne, Andrew, MSgt, (1969-1990) 982 98230 Sergeant
Killam, James, SSgt, (1971-1977) 671 67151 Airman 1st Class
Elias, Lawrence, TSgt, (1972-1992) 645 64530 Airman
Harwell, William, TSgt, (1972-1980) 303 30332 Airman
Rock, Michael, Sgt, (1972-1976) 4 Airman
Shingaki, Tamotsu, Lt Col, (1956-1983) 122 Major
Bolstad, Richard Eugene, Col, (1948-1979) 111 Second Lieutenant
Buroff, Stuart Walter, CMSgt, (1950-1979) [Other Service Rank]
West, Howard L., MSgt, (1947-1973) [Other Service Rank]
Simler, George Brenner, Gen, (1942-1972) Lieutenant General
Barstad, Stuart E., Maj Gen, (1955-1988) Lieutenant Colonel
Brims, Richard Cullen, Maj, (1965-1986) Second Lieutenant
Copack, Joseph Bernard, Capt, (1969-1972) Second Lieutenant
Lee, Craig, 1st Lt, (1972-1977) Second Lieutenant
Mutolo, Frank Melchiorre, Capt, (1970-1973) Second Lieutenant
Shea, Dennis, Maj, (1972-1992) Second Lieutenant
Drumheller, Donald A., MSgt, (1949-1973) Master Sergeant
Reynolds, Gary, MSgt, (1965-1985) Technical Sergeant
Wickert, George, MSgt, (1960-1980) Technical Sergeant
Withers, Douglas, TSgt, (1955-1975) Technical Sergeant
Oie, David, Sgt, (1971-1974) Senior Airman
Stark, Robert, Sgt, (1968-1972) Sergeant
Callahan, George, Sgt, (1971-1975) Airman

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