During the Vietnam War, Frederick E. Ferguson earned our nation's highest military award, the Congressional Medal of Honor! Born on 18 August 1939 in a small Texas town called Pilot Point, you might think he was destined to be an aviator. However, after graduation from Phoenix Union High School in 1958, he actually began his military career by enlisting in the Navy. While serving four years as an aviation storekeeper, he soon got the flying bug, was appointed an Army Warrant Officer in 1966 and completed Army Aviation School in 1967.
Warrant Officer Ferguson was immediately sent to Vietnam where he served as an aircraft commander, Section Leader, Company C, 227th Aviation Battalion in the 1st Cavalry Division, Airmobile. On the first day of the infamous "Tet Offensive", 31 January 1968, then Chief Warrant Officer Ferguson, was monitoring an emergency call from a downed helicopter crew. Ignoring numerous warnings to remain clear of the area he began a low-level flight toward the tiny, isolated South Vietnamese Army compound where the crash survivors had taken refuge.
Although his helicopter was severely damaged by during the loading of the wounded, Ferguson took off through the continuing hail of mortar fire. He successfully returned all of his wounded passengers to friendly control saving the lives of five of his comrades. For his gallantry and disregard for his own life, Frederick Ferguson was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. In July 1969 he was appointed as a Captain on active duty, completing the Armor Officer Basic Course and Armor Officer Advanced Course. From 1970 to 1971 he served as the Commanding Officer of an Armor Company.
In 1972 he entered the Arizona Army National Guard, was promoted to Major in 1975 and assumed command of the 997th Aviation Company, Assault Helicopter. Major Ferguson was transferred to Executive Officer of the 997th Aviation Battalion in 1978 where he continued to serve until 1982. Ferguson continued to serve in the Army National Guard and went on to become a Technician Instructor Pilot in the Arizona Army National Guard where he continued to serve until September 1997.
In addition to the Medal of Honor, during his career he was awarded the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star and the Air Medal with "V" and 37 clusters. He is also the recipient of numerous aviation awards including the Wright Brothers Committee, "Military Aviator of the Year" Award and induction into the US Army "Aviation Hall of Fame". An Airline Transport Pilot, he is an Instructor Pilot on the UH-1 and OH-58 helicopters and a C-12 pilot.
Chief Warrant Officer Frederick E. Ferguson skillfully maneuvers his Bell UH-1 helicopter at maximum speed along the Perfume River to the heavily defended Vietnamese village of Hue. Here he ignores intense arms fire and a hail of mortar fire while bringing his aircraft down in an extremely restricted landing zone. In a helicopter so severely damaged that it would never fly again, Ferguson successfully returns all of his wounded passengers to friendly control. For his heroism he is awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.