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Clyde Everett Lassen

Ship's Namesake

Named for Clyde Everett Lassen

Lieutenant Clyde Everett Lassen (1942-1994), a native of Fort Myers, Florida, earned the Medal of Honor for his courageous rescue of two downed aviators while commander of a search and rescue helicopter in Vietnam.

On June 19, 1968, Lassen, then a 27 year old Lieutenant flying a UH-2 Sea sprite, embarked on a mission to recover two downed naval aviators whose plane had been shot down deep in North Vietnamese territory. Upon reaching the hilly terrain where the aviators were hiding, LT Lassen made several attempts to recover the aviators, but dense tree cover, enemy weapons fire and intermittent illumination frustrated his efforts. Determined to complete his mission, LT Lassen turned on the landing lights of the helicopter, despite the danger of revealing his position to the enemy. After the pilots made their way to the helicopter and with his damaged helicopter dangerously low on fuel, LT Lassen evaded further antiaircraft fire before landing safely at sea onboard a guided missile destroyer-with only five minutes of fuel left in the helicopter's fuel lines.

The account of the rescue was logged as a successful, routine search and rescue mission. But at the home base for Helicopter Combat Squadron Seven, the rescue flight of June 19, 1968, will always be acclaimed as one of the most daring feats of flying to come out of the Vietnam Conflict.

LT Lassen became the first naval aviator and fifth Navy man to be awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery in Vietnam.