Heartland Hero: Melton Dunscombe saved 16 men, inducted into Mar - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Heartland Hero: Melton Dunscombe saved 16 men, inducted into Marine Corps Hall of Fame

Posted: Updated:
Retired Sergeant Melton Dunscombe lives by the code he learned in the Marines and that didn't change when the lives of 16 other men depended on him. Retired Sergeant Melton Dunscombe lives by the code he learned in the Marines and that didn't change when the lives of 16 other men depended on him.
Dunscombe put all 16 Marines in the helicopter then jumped in while it was taking fire. Dunscombe put all 16 Marines in the helicopter then jumped in while it was taking fire.
The mission was to rescue to the crew of the USS Maya Guez, orders given by President Gerald Ford himself. The ship was taken over by Cambodian forces late in the Vietnam War. The mission was to rescue to the crew of the USS Maya Guez, orders given by President Gerald Ford himself. The ship was taken over by Cambodian forces late in the Vietnam War.
Dunscombe went into a coma for three days due to heat exhaustion and other medical issues. When he woke up, he learned all 16 men survived because of him. Dunscombe went into a coma for three days due to heat exhaustion and other medical issues. When he woke up, he learned all 16 men survived because of him.
  • Heartland NewsMore>>

  • Water woes in Thebes

    Water woes in Thebes

    Thursday, April 24 2014 7:59 PM EDT2014-04-24 23:59:33 GMT
    A water main break kept folks in Thebes from doing dishes, taking showers for over 24 hours and they were never told exactly when it was going to be turned back on.It started with a warning from the city.
    A water main break kept folks in Thebes from doing dishes, taking showers for over 24 hours and they were never told exactly when it was going to be turned back on.It started with a warning from the city.
  • Boil water order issued in Murphysboro

    Boil water order issued in Murphysboro

    Thursday, April 24 2014 7:37 PM EDT2014-04-24 23:37:19 GMT
    A boil water order has been issued for the 1900 block of Walnut in Murphysboro. This does not include Jack's Meat Market.
    A boil water order has been issued for the 1900 block of Walnut in Murphysboro. This does not include Jack's Meat Market.
  • I-Team: Would expanding Medicaid help the thousands in MO living without insurance

    I-Team: Would expanding Medicaid help the thousands in Mo. living without insurance?

    I-Team: Would expanding Medicaid help the thousands in Mo. living without insurance?

    Thursday, April 24 2014 7:36 PM EDT2014-04-24 23:36:12 GMT
    About half of the states have made the decision to expand Medicaid. Missouri lawmakers are currently debating the matter in Jefferson City. How will what legislators decide impact the state, and those currently living without health insurance?
    About half of the states have made the decision to expand Medicaid. Missouri lawmakers are currently debating the matter in Jefferson City. How will what legislators decide impact the state, and those currently living without health insurance?
PATTERSON, MO (KFVS) -

Melton Dunscombe joined the Marine Corps as a 24-year-old.

He said he was the old guy of the group that tried to set the example for youngsters. Little did they know, he would be the reason they are alive today.

"You are seeing these guys today that have made it," said retired Sergeant Dunscombe. "They've made good people, they've made good men. They have good jobs. They are good family men. They have wives and kids. I just go…I did it huh. Well, I did. I did do it."

Retired Sergeant Melton Dunscombe lives by the code he learned in the Marines and that didn't change when the lives of 16 other men depended on him.

"That was the hand of God underneath that chopper," Dunscombe said. "Nothing else. That's how I look at it."

The mission was to rescue to the crew of the USS Maya Guez, orders given by President Gerald Ford himself. The ship was taken over by Cambodian forces late in the Vietnam War. During that rescue, Dunscombe's platoon was badly wounded. He called for helicopters to evacuate his brothers in combat.

"I staggered them in fox holes zig-zagged," Dunscombe said. "When that chopper came in, I had to grab them by the belt and pull them out of there because some of them were so scared and wounded they couldn't get out."

Dunscombe put all 16 Marines in the helicopter then jumped in while it was taking fire.

"I was hanging off the deck, the bad ramp of the chopper when the chopper lifted out to go to the Coral Sea," Dunscombe said. "We made it to the Coral Sea and that chopper took over 30 hits. We barely made it."

Dunscombe went into a coma for three days due to heat exhaustion and other medical issues. When he woke up, he learned all 16 men survived because of him. Like any humble Marine, that wasn't the number he was concerned with.

Forty-one members of the US military died in the Mayaguez Mission.

Dunscombe said he wishes he could have loaded all 41 on the chopper that day in Cambodia.

Copyright KFVS 2014. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow

310 Broadway
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701

FCC Public File
publicfile@kfvs12.com
573-335-1212
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and KFVS12. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.