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Patriotic Article
Heroes and Patriots
By USAF MSgt. Stan Parker

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Ramstein Pilot Receives Cheney Award
(October 16, 2009)

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Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz presents Capt. Daniel Santoro with the Cheney Award Oct. 8, 2009 at the Pentagon. Captain Santoro's leadership and foresight led his squadron to successfully complete 29 missions, delivering 95 passengers and 211 tons of humanitarian aid to the war-torn country of Georgia, following an August 2008 Russian invasion. Capt. Santoro is a C-130E Hercules instructor pilot and the chief of tactics assigned to the 37th Airlift Squadron at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz presents Capt. Daniel Santoro with the Cheney Award Oct. 8, 2009 at the Pentagon. Captain Santoro's leadership and foresight led his squadron to successfully complete 29 missions, delivering 95 passengers and 211 tons of humanitarian aid to the war-torn country of Georgia, following an August 2008 Russian invasion. Capt. Santoro is a C-130E Hercules instructor pilot and the chief of tactics assigned to the 37th Airlift Squadron at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.
 WASHINGTON (10/10/2009 - AFNS) -- A C-130E Hercules instructor pilot was presented the Cheney Award by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz Oct. 8 for his leadership in planning humanitarian aid missions to the country of Georgia.

The Cheney Award is presented each year to a service member who demonstrates an act of valor, extreme fortitude or self-sacrifice in a humanitarian venture. This year, the award went to Capt. Daniel Santoro of the 37th Airlift Squadron at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

"Today it is a special privilege to recognize an individual Airman who, because of his training, experience and commitment to the mission, executed so well on behalf of others," General Schwartz said during the presentation ceremony. "Thank you for demonstrating what it means to be competent and respected operationally . . . prerequisites for everything we do in our Air Force."
According to the awards citation, Captain Santoro led a team of eight intelligence and tactics personnel to develop multiple executable plans following the August 2008 invasion of Georgia by Russia. As the airlift expert for the Third Air Force operations plans team, he led the stand up of a 24-hour operations center and initiated a standby force. With the uncertainty of an evolving mission, Captain Santoro provided guidance on the defensive and payload capabilities of the C-130E.

Captain Santoro's experience helped determine aircraft defensive countermeasures, routing and refuel locations to accommodate a long overnight flight. His leadership allowed the squadron to complete 29 missions, deliver 95 passengers and 211 tons of humanitarian aid to Georgia.

The captain credited his fellow squadron Airmen for helping him earn the Cheney Award.

"My biggest thanks goes to the to the men and women of the 37th Airlift Squadron for their unwavering professionalism and airmanship in executing a plan that not only helped the U.S. meet strategic national objectives, but also made a difference in people's lives," Captain Santoro said. "The food and supplies that we airlifted saved lives and helped prevent a humanitarian disaster in the region. For that, my hat's off to them."

Established in 1927, the Cheney Award is presented each year in memory of 1st Lt. William Cheney, who was killed in an air collision over Italy in 1918.

By USAF MSgt. Stan Parker
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs
Copyright 2009

Reprinted from Air Force News Service

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