Georgia Military Veterans’ Hall of Fame Spotlight: Justin Craig Honaman
United States Army First Lieutenant Justin Craig Honaman from Atlanta was inducted into the 2017 Class of the Georgia Military Veterans’ Hall of Fame (GMVHOF) for his heroism and numerous acts of selfless bravery as an Army Medical Service Corps Dustoff Helicopter Pilot and Aircraft Commander in Vietnam in 1967 and 1968.
As a Dustoff Helicopter Pilot, he provided life-saving medical extractions for wounded or killed-in-action American soldiers, wounded allied soldiers, wounded Vietnamese civilians, and wounded Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army Prisoners of War. All too often, he performed these critical and treacherous missions in severe weather conditions, in extremely low visibility conditions at night, or while hovering for extended periods of time above or slowly hovering down through small openings in triple canopy jungle, or on the sides of steep mountain slopes. If these flight challenges were not enough, and given the nature of this unforgiving combat environment, he often flew these missions while receiving intense ground fire from well-concealed enemy positions.
During his 12-month tour, he was credited with saving the lives of 1,550 patients during 653 combat missions, while flying 610 combat hours for an average of more than four lives saved per day. As an example, on November 1, 1967, in support of the 25th Infantry Division, he answered the call for the immediate extraction of many critically wounded soldiers while their infantry company was still in very heavy contact with a well-armed enemy force. As he approached the pick-up site, he realized that landing his aircraft on the debris-strewn ground was impossible. With focused determination, he bravely hovered over the stumps and huge logs as the wounded were lifted up and into his waiting bird and while receiving intense enemy small arms fire. Because the number of casualties was so great, he continued to make extractions well into the night and always under fire from the enemy.
For his heroism in Vietnam, he was awarded the Combat Medical Badge, 19 Air Medals for combat flying, two Air Medals for Valor, and the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Following his return from wartime service, he pioneered the use of aeromedical evacuation helicopters in the civilian community, employing the transition of military medical transport of patients to the small and medium civilian communities.
This transfer of knowledge and experience from the military to the civilian community using hospital-based helicopter ambulance services in national markets created the means to open the use of helicopters for emergency transportation of critically of injured patients, raising the standard of emergency services nation-wide and resulting in the saving of countless lives.
Attention All Georgia Military Veterans!
Nominations are being accepted for the Georgia Military Veterans’ Hall of Fame (GMVHOF). The GMVHOF is a non-profit organization with the mission of honoring Georgia veterans and is currently accepting nominations for the class of 2018. If you know any veterans, please consider nominating them to this rare and noble hall of fame. Eligibility: Living or deceased veterans who served in one of the five branches of the military and was either born in Georgia, entered the military in Georgia, or have lived in Georgia for at least 10 years. A veteran may be nominated in one of three categories: VALOR – Heroic action(s) in combat; ACHIEVEMENT – Significant contribution to the military while in service; or SERVICE – Significant contribution to mankind after military service.
Nomination packets are accepted through the last Friday in August. All packets are automatically considered for up to three years with no additional effort required after initial submission. The GMVHOF is in the Floyd Veterans Building across the street from the Georgia Capital Building. For additional information and/or questions, please visit the GMVHOF website at www.GMVHOF.org. You can also contact either Paul Longgrear, GMVHOF Founder and Director, via email at PaulLonggrear@yahoo.com or by calling (706) 302-2220; or Rick White, GMVHOF Chairman of the Board, via email at email@example.com or by calling (678) 427-0915. We look forward to hearing from you!
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