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First Name: Clyde

Last Name: Lassen

Birthplace: Fort Myers, FL, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Home of Record: Jacksonville, FL
Middle Name: Everett

Date of Birth: 14 March 1942

Date of Death: 01 April 1994

Rank or Rate: Commander

Years Served: 1961 - 1982
Clyde Everett Lassen

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Clyde Everett Lassen
Commander, U.S. Navy
Medal of Honor Recipient
Vietnam War

Commander Clyde Everett Lassen (14 March 1942 - 1 April 1994) was a retired U.S. Navy officer and Naval Aviator. As a Lieutenant, he received the Medal of Honor for his rescue of two downed Naval Aviators while piloting a search and rescue helicopter in Vietnam.

On 19 June 1968, Lassen was a 27-year-old Lieutenant J.G. flying a UH-2 Seasprite who 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, Lassen made several attempts to recover the aviators, but dense tree cover, enemy weapons fire and intermittent illumination frustrated his efforts. 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 bullet-riddled helicopter dangerously low on fuel, 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. Lassen became the first naval aviator and fifth Navy man to be awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery in Vietnam.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Lieutenant, U.S. Navy, Helicopter Support Squadron 7, Detachment 104, embarked in U.S.S. Preble (DLG-15).

Place and date: Republic of Vietnam, 19 June 1968.

Entered service at: Jacksonville, FL. Born: 14 March 1942, Fort Myers, FL.

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as pilot and aircraft commander of a search and rescue helicopter, attached to Helicopter Support Squadron 7, during operations against enemy forces in North Vietnam. Launched shortly after midnight to attempt the rescue of 2 downed aviators, Lt. (then Lt. (J.G.)) Lassen skillfully piloted his aircraft over unknown and hostile terrain to a steep, tree-covered hill on which the survivors had been located. Although enemy fire was being directed at the helicopter, he initially landed in a clear area near the base of the hill, but, due to the dense undergrowth, the survivors could not reach the helicopter. With the aid of flare illumination, Lt. Lassen successfully accomplished a hover between 2 trees at the survivors' position Illumination was abruptly lost as the last of the flares were expended, and the helicopter collided with a tree, commencing a sharp descent. Expertly righting his aircraft and maneuvering clear, Lt. Lassen remained in the area, determined to make another rescue attempt, and encouraged the downed aviators while awaiting resumption of flare illumination. After another unsuccessful, illuminated rescue attempt, and with his fuel dangerously low and his aircraft significantly damaged, he launched again and commenced another approach in the face of the continuing enemy opposition. When flare illumination was again lost, Lt. Lassen, fully aware of the dangers in clearly revealing his position to the enemy, turned on his landing lights and completed the landing. On this attempt, the survivors were able to make their way to the helicopter. En route to the coast he encountered and successfully evaded additional hostile antiaircraft fire and, with fuel for only 5 minutes of flight remaining, landed safely aboard U.S.S. Jouett (DLG-29).

In a White House ceremony, President Lyndon Johnson presented the Medal of Honor to Navy Lt. Clyde E. Lassen on 16 January 1969. At the same ceremony, Medals of Honor were presented to Marine Maj. Stephen W. Pless; Air Force Lt. Col. Joe M. Jackson; and Army S/Sgt. Drew D. Dix.

Lassen remained in the Navy for a career and retired in 1982 with the rank of Commander. He resided in Pensacola, FL, until his death.


The Department of the Navy commissioned an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, USS Lassen (DDG 82), on Saturday, 21 April 2001, during an 11 a.m. EST ceremony at the Florida Aquarium Pier in Tampa, FL. The ship is named for Vietnam Medal of Honor recipient Commander Clyde Everett Lassen, USN.

Death and Burial

Commander Clyde Everett Lassen died on 1 April 1994. He is buried at Barrancas National Cemetery in Pensacola, Escambia County, FL, in Section 38-113.

Honoree ID: 1003   Created by: MHOH




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