Commander Clyde Everett Lassen
Lassen, a native of Fort Myers, Florida, earned the Congressional Medal
of Honor for his courageous rescue of two downed aviators while
commander of a search and rescue helicopter in Vietnam.
On June 19, 1968, Lassen, then a 27 year old Lieutenant flying a UH-2
Seasprite, 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, LT Lassen
made several attempts to recover the aviators, but dense tree cover,
enemy weapons fire and intermittent illumination frustrated his
efforts. Determined to complete his mission, LT 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 damaged helicopter dangerously low on fuel, LT
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. But at the home base for Helicopter Combat Squadron
Seven, the rescue flight of June 19, 1968, will always be acclaimed as
one of the most daring feats of flying to come out of the Vietnam
Conflict. LT Lassen became the first naval aviator and fifth Navy man
to be awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery in Vietnam.
a wreath Gold and Azure (Dark Blue), two palm fronds vert superimposed
by two lightning flashes saltirewise Gules and overall a demi-trident.
The Shield: Dark blue and gold are
traditionally used by the Navy. The Aegis shield highlights the modern
weaponry of the USS LASSEN. The blue chevron recalls LT Lassen's
service in the coastal campaign during the Vietnam War. It also
simulates the prow of a ship, alluding to the first LASSEN's mission as
an ammunition ship, which rearmed many of the major fleets. The
heraldic sea lion symbolizes the strength and courage, demonstrated by
LT Lassen. The chevron suggests the Medal of Honor awarded for LT
Lassen's heroism, above and beyond the call of duty, for the rescue of
two aviators. The compass rose symbolizes the landing lights of his
helicopter, while rescuing the aviators, revealing his position to the
enemy, when illumination was lost.
The Crest: The palm fronds suggest
LASSENs area of operations in the Pacific; the lightning flashes
symbolize striking capabilities and refer to the first LASSENs service
in World War II, rearming many of the major fleets. The trident's three
tines represent battlestars earned during World War II in the Pacific
as well as denoting the multifaceted offensive/defensive armament of
the present DDG 82.
Motto: From Courage Life