16 April 1945 — Okinawa Shima, Ryukyu Islands, Japan
The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Commander Frederick Julian Becton (NSN: 0-70065), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of this profession as Commanding Officer of the Destroyer U.S.S. LAFFEY (DD-724), in action against enemy Japanese forces off Okinawa, on 16 April 1945. With his ship under savage attack by thirty hostile planes, Commander Becton skillfully countered the fanatical enemy tactics, employing every conceivable maneuver and directing all his guns in an intense and unrelenting barrage of fire to protect his ship against the terrific onslaught. Crashed by six of the overwhelming aerial force which penetrated the deadly anti-aircraft defense, the U.S.S. LAFFEY, under his valiant command fought fiercely for over two hours against the attackers, blasting eight of the enemy out of the sky. Although the explosions of the suicide planes and two additional bombs caused severe structural damage, loss of armament and heavy personnel casualties, Commander Becton retained complete control of his ship, coolly directing emergency repairs in the midst of furious combat, and emerged at the close of the action with his gallant warship afloat and still an effective fighting unit. His unremitting tenacity of purpose, courageous leadership and heroic devotion to duty under fire were inspiring to those who served with him and enhanced the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.