Patrick Osborne Ford, US Navy
Patrick Osborne Ford was born on 2 May 1942 in San Francisco, Cal. and later moved to Phoenix, Ariz., where he graduated North High School and enlisted in the Navy. He completed basic training at San Diego, Cal., and reported aboard USS James E. Kyes (DD 787) serving as a Gunner's Mate until the end of his enlistment in 1963. GMG2 Ford reenlisted in 1965 and served at the Naval Station, Long Beach, Cal. In 1966, he was transferred to the Naval Support Activity, Danang, Republic of Vietnam, where he was to report aboard USS George K. MacKenzie (DD 836). Following completion of his tour aboard MacKenzie, Ford was subsequently transferred to the USS Henderson (DD 785) where he remained until the end of his second enlistment in 1967. Later that year Ford reenlisted for the second time and was ordered to the Naval Amphibious Base, Coronado, Cal. for River Patrol Craft Training. Following completion of training in 1968, GMG2 Ford was directed to report to the Naval Support Activity, Saigon, Republic of Vietnam.
He was assigned to Task Force 116, River Squadron 5, River Section 535 in 1968. For the next five months, he served as a river patrol boat sailor, monitoring the traffic of the many rivers and coastal waterways of the area. On 21 June 1968, Ford was serving as the after machine-gunner aboard PBR-750 as part of a two-boat patrol operating in the upper My Tho River near the town of Cai Be. The boats spotted a sampan fleeing into a nearby canal. The two patrol boats gave chase and captured the sampan one hundred meters further up the canal. As the patrol boat returned to the river with the captured sampan in tow, it was ambushed by a Viet Cong patrol that unleashed an overwhelming barrage of heavy machine-gunfire and rockets.
Two B-40 rockets struck Ford's boat, killing the patrol leader and coxswain. Within seconds, the boat was ablaze and out of control, heading directly for the Viet Cong positions. Even as the boat was hit by four additional rockets, and after suffering serious injuries, Ford maintained a steady volume of return fire from his aft machine-gunner's station. In the face of enemy gunfire and with his clothing on fire, Ford assisted three seriously wounded shipmates into the water. Only after ensuring that all the surviving crew had left the boat did Ford make his way into the water. He was the last man alive to leave what remained of PBR-750. Soon after entering the water, Ford was killed by a burst of machine-gun fire. However, as a result of his actions, he saved the lives of two of his shipmates. In recognition of his bravery he was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.
USS Ford (FFG54) was named for him.
I am HONORD to have been a crew member