The Mu Gia Pass area was one of the most heavily traveled sections of the Ho Chi Minh Trail that included some of the most heavily defended terrain in Vietnam. The area was dense with rural civilian villages and the bombing took a heavy toll if pilots did not drop their bomb load precisely.
If the pilots stayed "high and safe," the bombs were less likely to hit military targets that would protect U.S. soldiers in the south and more likely to hit civilian villages. John O'Grady had a reputation for having the courage and nerve to drop in low, opening himself up to enemy fire to ensure his payload hit the military target.
He would fly low every time enabling him to drop his bombs in a careful and precise manner determined to never endanger or harm the civilian population. He served his country with honor and bravery, choosing to risk his own life rather than expose or inflict injury to innocent villagers.
The day he was lost his wingman saw his bombs land directly on a military target of opportunity - an unexpected battalion of enemy soldiers and equipment moving through the Pass to the south.
The Silver Star or Silver Star Medal is the third highest MILITARY AWARD for VALOR that can be awarded to any person serving in any capacity with the United States Armed Forces.
In less than 4 months in Vietnam, John O'Grady earned:
*A Silver Star
*Three Distinguished Flying Crosses.
* Two Air Medals with Valor.
*A Purple Heart.