78 years old from Pensacola, Florida
Attach Squadron 153
April 3, 1929 – March 17, 2008
From the citation upon being awarded the Silver Star:
The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Commander David John Sperling (NSN: 0-555189), United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action as the Pilot of a jet aircraft while attached to Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED FIFTY-THREE (VA-153), embarked in U.S.S. CORAL SEA (CVA-43). On 25 October 1967, Commander Sperling flew as a major group leader in a coordinated Air Wing assault on the Phuc Yen Air Base near Hanoi, North Vietnam. Being the prime operating base for MiG fighter aircraft, Phuc Yen was defended by the most concentrated and formidable array of surface-to-air missiles, anti-aircraft artillery and automatic weapons to be found in all of North Vietnam. Courageously leading his group of attack aircraft over 120 miles of hostile territory into this bastion of defensive armor, Commander Sperling exhibited outstanding airmanship and unwavering determination while maneuvering for the highly vulnerable attack position. In spite of the unprecedented barrage of surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft fire, he calmly established the essential bombing pattern and delivered his ordnance with exceptional accuracy on the revetted enemy airplanes to destroy or damage several parked MiG aircraft. His resolute actions and professional skill set the tone for the remainder of his force and succeeded in turning a potentially disastrous situation into a highly successful assault on the enemy. Commander Sperling’s gallant and inspirational leadership upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Cmd. Sperling’s obituary.
These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived
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