JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, WA – Eight 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) Soldiers received the Distinguished Flying Cross during a ceremony, April 11.
The award was presented for individual acts of heroism while flying and crewing Chinook helicopters during a single time-sensitive, high-priority mission in Afghanistan in 2009.
The nighttime mission demanded that they fly special operations forces directly to a known enemy location at low levels and high speeds to infiltrate and exfiltrate the operators while completely exposing themselves to direct enemy fire.
The Soldiers are (Click names for biographies and award citations. Click on photos for high resolution images):
- Chief Warrant Officer 4 Bernard Litaker, Jr.
- Chief Warrant Officer 3 Maciek Mankowski
- Chief Warrant Officer 3 Todd Peterson
- Staff Sgt. Benjamin Tate
- Staff Sgt. Stanley Yeadon
- Sgt. Jason Brown
- Sgt. Jeremy Gribble
- Spec. Matthew Jones
The DFC is awarded to any person who distinguishes himself by heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight.
Soldiers of this elite organization are known as Night Stalkers, a nickname derived from their unparalleled nighttime special operations aviation capabilities. They are entrusted with providing helicopter support to our nation’s most elite special operations forces around the world. 160th crews and support personnel have been continuously deployed in support of overseas contingency operations since October 2001.