FORT CAMPBELL, KY – Several members of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) were recently presented the Distinguished Flying Cross in a small ceremony at Fort Campbell, highlighting the expertise and skill of the aviators within the Regiment.
Brig. Gen. Kevin Mangum, commander of the U.S. Army Special Operations Aviation Command and former 160th SOAR (A) commander, presented the valorous awards to eight Night Stalkers while their family members looked on.
“I am honored to be in the company of heroes,” said Mangum. “Each of these men showed courage in the face of danger to protect the Soldiers on the ground.”
“Fear is a reaction,” he continued, but courage is a decision.”
The Distinguished Flying Cross, awarded for heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight, was presented to:
- Capt. Michael Hilquest
- Chief Warrant Officer 5 Stephen Combs
- Chief Warrant Officer 5 Dino Sorter
- Chief Warrant Officer 4 Gregory Cooper
- Chief Warrant Officer 4 Andy Fisher
- Chief Warrant Officer 4 William Rucker
- Chief Warrant Officer 4 John Williams
- Chief Warrant Officer 3 Sidney Sprabary
The Distinguished Flying Cross was also awarded to Chief Warrant Officer 4 Ryan Glathar who could not be present.
Lt. Col Mike Hertzendorf, 1st Battalion, 160th SOAR (A) commander, described the extraordinary circumstances of the two separate missions in which the awards were earned.
Both occasions required the aircrews to execute very complex missions on short planning timelines in extremely challenging urbanized terrain. With complete disregard for their own safety, they each provided precise rotary wing support to the troops on the ground despite a determined and persistent enemy.
“The unique thing about the Distinguished Flying Cross is that it requires heroism” Hertzendorf remarked proudly. “The voluntary risk of life to save another.”
Night Stalkers continue to serve around the world in support of overseas contingency operations. The 160th SOAR (A) recently celebrated its 30th anniversary and remains one of few Army units that have participated continuously in combat operations since September 2001.