Pendleton combat medic killed during Vietnam War to receive Congressional honor

By on Tuesday, May 14th, 2024 in Columbia Basin News More Top Stories

PENDLETON – A combat medic from Pendleton who lost his life at age of 20 in the Vietnam War is being honored more than 50 years after his death. 

John William Murphy is one of five Oregonians to receive a collective Congressional Gold Medal to U.S. Army Dustoff crews, which was recently approved by Congress as the Dustoff Crews of the Vietnam War Congressional Gold Medal Act.

Dustoff crews served aboard helicopter air ambulances performing aeromedical evacuation for United States, Vietnamese, and allied forces in Southeast Asia from May 1962 through March 1973.

Murphy served with the 326 Medical Battalion, of the 101st Airborne Division (Screaming Eagles) during the war. He was killed on December 14, 1970, in a helicopter crash with members of the 502nd Infantry and the crew of the helicopter.

He was born in The Dalles in 1950, moved to Pendleton and graduated from Pendleton High School in 1968.  Among the five Oregonians receiving this honor, four are posthumous while one paratrooper from Oregon City is still alive