Sam Ciccosillo enlisted in the US Navy on April 15th, 1969, one week after his 18th birthday. After Naval Air Technical training, he was received for duty October of 1969 to Patuxent River, MD. October of 1970 Sam requested shore duty in Vietnam. He stayed in Maryland until June 1971 when he was transferred to the Coronado Naval base in California where he was trained in SERE survival evasion resistance escape preparing him for Vietnam. Sam left for South Vietnam August of 1971.
While in Vietnam Sam serve as an Air Crewman on the Helicopter Attack Light Squadron or HAL-3. HAL-3 was a Navy helicopter combat support squadron. They adopted the name “Seawolves”. Sam worked as an aviation machinist. His unit flew reconnaissance missions to transport soldiers in the Mekong Delta area of South Vietnam while under constant threat of Viet Cong attacks.
On December 22, 1971 while flying one particular mission Sam’s helicopter crashed in the embankment turning the helicopter upside down & crushed the left side of the aircraft. Luckily, no-one was badly hurt or injured. For whatever reason Sam moved his seat to the right side of the helicopter before take off. This saved his life.
National Defense Service Medal
Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
Vietnam Service Medal
Meritorious Unit Commendation
Air Metal 7th Strike Award
Sam was released from active duty January 26th, 1973 and received Honorable Discharge April 27th, 1975.