Thank you for your service as a HMH/M/L/A (I) Helicopter Pilot. It is Presidents' Weekend, and good time to remember those who serve. It is so important for us all to acknowledge the sacrifices of those like you who answered our nation's call. Please watch over America, it stills needs your strength, courage and faithfulness. Rest in peace with the angels.
Silver Star Citation
Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War
The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Major Robert M. Cramer (MCSN: 0-76778), United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as Section Leader of two UH-34 transport helicopters with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron THREE HUNDRED SIXTY-TWO (HMM-362), FIRST Marine Aircraft Wing, in the Republic of Vietnam, on 8 January 1968. While assigned the emergency medical evacuation of a seriously wounded Marine in the vicinity of Phu Loc in Thua Thien Province, Major Cramer, despite adverse weather conditions which limited visibility from one to three miles, displayed exceptional aeronautical skill and determination as he maneuvered his flight through darkness over hazardous terrain toward the landing zone. Due to the difficulty of maintaining visual contact en route to the Marine position and aware of the constant danger of mid-air collision, he led his sector to a point near the zone, detached his wingman to an orbiting pattern and valiantly proceeded to the zone unescorted. Arriving over the area, he found that deteriorating weather conditions had reduced the ceiling to less than 500 feet. Instructing the ground unit to light flares, in order to guide him to their position, for over an hour, Major Cramer made low-level approaches from different directions in a persistent effort to land in the area. Each time his attempt was thwarted by the clouds that obscured the zone and the lack of continuous flare illumination. Realizing the urgency of rescuing the injured Marine, he refused to end his mission. Climbing to a high altitude, he contacted Hue Approach Control and requested radar vectors to a point over the approximate area of the landing zone. Advised by the Hue Control Center that the radar vectors could be accomplished but warned that radar could not track his aircraft once the descent commenced, due to mountainous terrain, nevertheless, he bravely decided to attempt the landing. Fully aware of the dangers involved, but determined to save his fellow Marine, he began his descent through a heavy cloud cover. The aircraft broke out of the clouds approximately 1,500 meters south of the evacuation landing site and simultaneously struck trees covering the hillside, causing the helicopter to crash and burst into flames, killing Major Cramer and the copilot. By his bold initiative, steadfast courage and selfless devotion to duty at great personal risk, Major Cramer upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
Action Date: 8-Jan-68
Service: Marine Corps
Company: Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 362 (HMM-362)
Division: 1st Marine Aircraft Wing
Remembering An American Hero
As an American, I would like to thank you for your service and for your sacrifice made on behalf of our wonderful country. The youth of today could gain much by learning of heroes such as yourself, men and women whose courage and heart can never be questioned.
May God allow you to read this, and may He allow me to someday shake your hand when I get to Heaven to personally thank you. May he also allow my father to find you and shake your hand now to say thank you; for America, and for those who love you.
With respect, and the best salute a civilian can muster for you, Sir
Crash Information on U.S. Marine Corps helicopter UH-34D tail number 150559
On January 8, 1968, a UH-34D from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 362 (HMM-362) was lost while flying in heavy weather in I Corps when it flew into the side of a mountain. There were two fatalities: MAJ Robert M. Cramer and CAPT Denver D. Colburn Jr. [Taken from vhpa.org]