JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. – An Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft pilot received the Distinguished Flying Cross during a ceremony at the Air National Guard Readiness Center on October 31, 2013.
Maj. Michael J. Stock was presented the medal by Brig. Gen. R. Scott Williams, commander of the Air National Guard Readiness Center, for his actions during a recent deployment to Afghanistan.
Brig. Gen. R. Scott Williams, commander of the Air National Guard Readiness Center, Joint Base Andrews, Md., presents Maj. Michael J. Stock with the Distinguished Flying Cross on October 31, 2013 for gallantry while on a mission during a recent deployment to Afghanistan. Maj. Stock's actions directly saved the lives of 50 Marines and 25 Special Forces soldiers and airmen. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sergeant Marvin. R. Preston)
“Rarely does a soldier take it upon himself to find out who the pilots were that came to their aid, it's just understood we're all just doing our part,” said Williams. “A Chief Master Sergeant from the Special Operations Force called (then) Capt. Stock to say thanks for answering the call for help.”
During the mission, Stock displayed gallantry as flight lead of two Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft, providing close air support for 75 embattled coalition forces. While conducting over watch of maneuver elements, Stock located enemy combatants scouting the coalition position.
“I am extremely humbled and honored to be part of the A-10 community,” Stock said. “This mission is what our community trains and lives for every day.”
Enemy combatants in the area ambushed coalition force with rocket propelled grenades and machine gun fire from multiple directions and distances as close as 30 meters. Within seconds, Stock coordinated with the Joint Terminal Attack Controller for multiple strafe attacks. In order to mitigate the risk to friendly forces and increase the accuracy of his fires, he elected to engage the enemy from a low altitude along a restricted axis, rendering himself predictable to enemy combatants observed to be firing at his aircraft.
To reduce the possibility of civilian casualties due to air delivered fires, Stock quickly talked a sniper team onto the enemy position, which enabled them to neutralize the threat with organic assets.
Stock's ability to deliver firepower in close proximity to friendly forces, without regard to his own safety, saved the lives of 50 Marines and 25 United States Special Forces soldiers and airmen.
“The real heroes from that mission were the Joint Terminal Attack Controller, ‘Mike W,' and my wingman Sapper Tice,” said Stock. “Those two men are consummate professionals and were able to deliver devastating firepower despite degraded equipment and a fluid and uncertain battle space.”
The Distinguished Flying Cross was authorized by Section 12 of the Air Corps Act in 1926. President Calvin Coolidge awarded the first Distinguished Flying Cross in 1927. The medal is awarded to any officer or enlisted member of the U.S. armed forces who distinguishes himself or herself by heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight in support of operations.
“We were just doing our jobs on that particular day, and there are many close air support aircrew downrange doing this work day in and day out, and for that I'm proud of them,” added Stock. “All of the credit for the Hawg's success goes to everyone on the team who work extremely hard to make it happen. A-10 Intel, life support, Squadron Aviation Recourse Managers, weapons and maintenance troops are the backbone of the community and the absolute best at what they do. Without them, close air support does not happen.”
By USANG Master Sergeant Marvin. R. Preston
Provided through DVIDS
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