U.S. # 4988
2015 49¢ Air Force
Medal of Honor: Vietnam
Pararescuemen drop into military zones to organize rescue efforts of the wounded where needed. Risking his life each time, 21-year-old Airman 1st Class William H. “Pits” Pitsenbarger flew almost 300 pararescue missions during Vietnam – more than most 30-year veterans ever see.
When a call came in on the afternoon of April 11, 1966, Pits was off duty. But he asked if he could go anyway. He volunteered to be lowered through the thick jungle canopy to aid the wounded and set up the rescue hoist. By his own choice, Pits stayed on the ground with the infantry while the rescue effort continued.
Over five trips, nine wounded soldiers were hoisted out before enemy fire forced the choppers to retreat. Pits continued to give medical aid and support, but the rescue helicopters could not return. As evening fell, Pits was mortally wounded. He was found the next day still holding his rifle and a medical kit.
For his heroic actions, William H. Pitsenbarger received the Air Force Cross, which was later upgraded to a Medal of Honor. He was an airman who truly operated under a code of valor. His courage, selfless vigilance, and ultimate sacrifice are remembered and recognized as prime examples of the pararescuer’s credo under which he served – “That Others May Live.”
The 2015 Medal of Honor stamps were designed by art director Antonio Alcalá, using photographs by Richard Frasier. The stamps were printed in a prestige folio, a new format the U.S.P.S. created for the Medal of Honor Series that began in 2013 to honor World War II award recipients. The folio pictures most of the nearly 50 living Vietnam War recipients and lists the names of all 258 honorees.
Value: 49¢ 1-ounce first-class letter rate
Issued: May 25, 2015
First Day City: Washington, D.C. – at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Banknote Corporation of America/Sennett Security Products
Method: Offset with microprinting in double-sided sheets of 72 with 3 panes of 24 per sheet
Perforation: Serpentine Die Cut 11
Quantity Printed: 10,000,000 stamps
The 2015 Medal of Honor issue was the first in the series to include a stamp for Air Force recipients, as the award wasn’t created until 1965. The other stamps in the series are U.S. #4822-23, honoring World War II recipients and #4822a-23a, for Korean War recipients. The Medal of Honor was also previously honored in 1983 on U.S. #2045.