Helicopter Pilot Receives Cheney Award
(December 11, 2010)
|WASHINGTON (12/7/2010 - AFNS) -- An HH-60G helicopter pilot
received the Cheney Award from Air Force Chief of Staff Gen.
Norton Schwartz here Oct. 15 for the rescue of two
critically injured Marines in Helmand Valley, Afghanistan. |
Maj. John G. Mangan, the assistant director of
operations for the 41st Rescue Squadron at Moody
Air Force Base, Ga., led his formation of two
HH-60Gs on July 2, 2009, while in support of
Operation Enduring Freedom.
According to his citation, Major Mangan executed
multiple approaches into two different landing
zones despite intense enemy fire and a lack of
communications with ground forces.
"We were holding a few miles away trying to make
contact with the ground commander while enemy
forces were within 300 meters to the west, north
and south," Major Mangan said. "It was a
difficult situation and a lucky decision, but I
said to myself, 'we're not gonna call it quits,'
knowing people's lives were on the line."
During the rescue, his wingman's aircraft took
enemy fire, causing Major Mangan to
Air Force Chief of
Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz presents Maj. John G.
Mangan with the Cheney Award Oct. 15, 2010, at
the Pentagon. Major Mangan received the award
for his actions as the pilot of an HH-60 Pave
Hawk on a rescue mission in Helmland Valley,
Afghanistan. Without ground communications or
airborne support, Major Mangan managed to land
and save the lives of two critically injured
Marines under intense enemy fire. Major Mangan
is currently assigned to Nellis Air Force Base,
Nev. (U.S. Air Force photo/Jim Varhegyi)
|execute the final phase of the
rescue without airborne mutual support.
"My wingman almost got shot down altogether; a bullet
passed a couple of feet away from his head," the major said.
"He flew away to assess the damage on his aircraft, and once
he realized it was still battle-worthy, he returned to
continue the fight and assist in the rescue."
Though the major's decisions as he engaged enemy forces
saved the lives of two Marines, he credits his team for
completing the daunting mission.
"There were 15 people on the flight who put their lives at
risk to do the right thing and save these guys; it wasn't
just me," the major said. "Each one of them was absolutely
critical for the mission to be successful."
Note: The Cheney Award is presented each
year to aviators who demonstrate an act of valor, extreme
fortitude or self-sacrifice in a humanitarian venture.
Established in 1927, the award is in memory of 1st Lt.
William Cheney, who was killed in an air collision over
Italy in 1918.
By USAF TSgt.
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs Office
Air Force News
Comment on this article