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Wall of Honor Level: Air and Space Friend
David B. Bonello, 20, of Riverview, has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroic action as a combat pilot in Vietnam. A 1968 graduate of St. Thomas Academy, he is the son of Dr. and Mrs. Frank J. Bonello. A member of the 17th Air Cavalry, he entered the Army in July of 1968. He arrived overseas on Christmas Eve of last year. [Actually, Christmas day.] The Army's description of his action which earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross follows: Chief Warrant Officer David Bonello was cited for heroism while participating in aerial flight, evidenced by voluntary actions above and beyond the call of duty 17 miles north of Quan Loi, Republic of Vietnam. CW2 Bonello distinguished himself while serving as aircraft command of an AH-1G Cobra gunship called to support an ARVN unit engaged in contact with an NVA battalion. Arriving on station, CW2 Bonello gave expert cover to a Medivac helicopter as it extracted the wounded soldiers from the contact area. AFTER RECEIVING a mark on the enemy position from the ground commander, CW2 Bonello swiftly guided his Cobra on target in an attempt to destroy the enemy. CW2 Bonello further exemplified himself when his aircraft became the target of numerous automatic weapons and 51 caliber anti-aircraft machine guns. Without regard for his personal safety, he made repeated passes into the anti-aircraft fire, delivering deadly accurate rockets. He then spotted a machine gun emplacement and deftly dove [Sic.] his Cobra on target rendering the position unserviceable. CW2 BONELLO'S aircraft had received hits so severe that the ammunition compartment caught fire and he was forced to land. After making sure that the fire was extinguished and the aircraft flyable, he again came to altitude. He sighted another Cobra which had just arrived on station and rolled in marking the target with two pair of rockets. CW2 Bonello then proceeded home with his badly wounded aircraft. Due to his outstanding flying ability, devotion to duty, and keen sense of professionalism, he enabled several comrades' lives to be saved and severely damaged a large enemy installation.
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