Awarded posthumously for actions during the Vietnam War
The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Captain [then Lieutenant Commander] Trent Richard Powers, United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism on 31 October 1965 while serving as a pilot of jet attack aircraft with Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED SIXTY-FOUR (VA-164), embarked in U.S.S. ORISKANY (CVA-34) during a combat mission over hostile territory in North Vietnam. Captain Powers was assigned the demanding and unusual task of leading a two-division, United States Air Force flight into an area heavily defended by anti-aircraft artillery and surface-to-air missiles, with the mission of locating and destroying the missile installations. He planned the attack route and led the eight-plane group over more than six hundred miles of unfamiliar, cloud-shrouded, mountainous terrain, arriving in the target area precisely at a pre-briefed time that had been selected to coincide with the strikes of two carrier air wings against a bridge. The target area was the scene of an intense air-to-ground battle, many surface-to-air missiles were being fired and heavy enemy anti-aircraft fire was observed in all directions. With full knowledge of the serious hazards involved, Captain Powers courageously led the Air Force aircraft into battle. His bombs and those of the Air Force aircraft which he led inflicted severe damage to both missile sites. By his superior aeronautical skill and valiant determination, Captain Powers upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
General Orders: Authority: Navy Department Board of Decorations and Medals
Action Date: October 31, 1965
Company: Attack Squadron 164 (VA-164)
Division: U.S.S. Oriskany (CVA-34)