MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. - For one Moody Airman, what seemed to
be a standard patrol mission from Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan,
Oct. 28, 2008, concluded with him receiving a Distinguished Flying
Cross with Valor on Jan. 29, 2015.
Ultimately, the actions of
U.S. Air Force Maj. Jeremiah “Bull” Parvin and his wingman, Capt.
Aaron Cavasos, saved the lives of six Marines that day.
recognition of his selfless and heroic actions, Maj. Gen. H.D.
Polumbo Jr., Ninth Air Force commander, presented Parvin with the
Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor.
U.S. Air Force Maj. Jeremiah "Bull" Parvin, 75th Fighter Squadron director of operations stands in front of his A-10C Thunderbolt II on Jan. 28, 2015 at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Parvin
was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor on Jan. 29,
2015 for his selfless and heroic actions that he displayed seven
years earlier during a deployment to Afghanistan. (Image created by USA Patriotism!
with U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ceaira Tinsley)
The DFC is awarded to any officer or enlisted person of
the Armed Forces of the United States who distinguished her
or himself in actual combat in support of operations by
heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in
an aerial flight.
"This was not an easy situation for
Maj. Parvin," Polumbo said during the ceremony. "He made his
way there in an expeditious way, and I will tell you after
flying a number of different types of airplanes in the
mountains of Afghanistan, it is not an easy environment to
fly in. Those of you who have flown in Afghanistan know that
it's significantly challenging ... especially when the
weather is not good. For me, it was the most challenging
environment I have flown in during my Air Force career.
"That was the beginning of the bravery, the courage, the
flight discipline and the real Airmanship that we're going
to recognize today. It's what Airmen do to work their way
into the fight in order to put fire down on the ground to
support our men and women under fire. This is the bravery
that we in the U.S. Air Force identify that it takes to get
a Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor."
isn't the only one who advocates Parvin as a hero. One
Marine in the audience said he knows his team would have
died that day if it wasn't for the bravery of Parvin and
“It was the first time in my life that I
thought to myself ‘this is it we're going to die, we're not
going to make it out of this,'” said U.S. Marine Corps
Master Gunnery Sgt. Richard Wells, who was the Marine
Special Operations Team chief. “[If it wasn't for him] I
don't think I'd be doing this interview right now. I'm
certain that I wouldn't have made it out. There is no way
that we would have made it all of the way back to the base.”
Although many see Parvin's actions as heroic, he said
any of his counterparts would have done the same thing in
“Any of the guys we train with on a daily
basis, given the same set of circumstances and information
would do the exact same thing,” Parvin said. “That's what we
want to train guys to do. Whether it's here or Davis-Monthan
[AFB, Ariz.] we try to train them to a set standard: the
same one that we used that day.”
Parvin may have thought the mission was just another day's work,
but seven years later he still remembers all of the accounts of that
Then Capt. Parvin and Lt. Cavasos, both A-10C pilots,
were circling their area of responsibility when the air support
operations center relayed a call for help. “We have troops in
contact,” chirped over the radio and the pilots raced to the
coordinates provided. The pilots made contact with the joint
terminal attack controller on the ground, call sign: HALO 11.
Parvin battled poor weather conditions during his 320-mile flight to
As he thumbed through his maps, Parvin
realized neither he nor his wingman had a map of where they were
going. Although the odds were stacked against them, they used their
experience to find the location. Upon arrival Parvin descended below
a thick cloud cover and maneuvered through the mountainous terrain
to reach the unit in need.
Once overhead, they determined a
Marine Special Operations Team was being relentlessly assaulted and
the enemy was closing in fast. After nearly two hours of
close-quarters combat, the team was in dire need of support and
there was no way for ground forces to reach them. There were also a
number of Marines who sustained gunshot wounds and needed medical
“You get there and there's this huge excitement and
adrenaline rush that you try to tamper down,” Parvin said. “You hear
gunshots in the background; you hear screams of urgency in their
voices. You could just tell they need help and they need it now.”
Parvin turned on the A-10C's overt exterior lights to divert
enemy fire toward himself and away from the Marine unit. With the
help of the JTAC, he was able to distinguish the friendlies from the
enemies and provide close air support. While maneuvering in the
mountainous terrain taking heavy surface-to-air fire, Parvin
destroyed multiple enemy positions – some within 40 meters of U.S.
forces. His actions gave the Marines enough time to retreat to
The hour flight back to Bagram was silent as the
exhaustion from the day's events set in.
“In 2008, we did the
mission and we landed,” said Parvin, a native of Rocky Mount, North
Carolina. “It was counted as an everyday mission and we didn't think
anything about it.”
Parvin, now a major and the 75th Fighter
Squadron director of operations, said it wasn't until six years
later that he realized this was no ordinary mission: It was
something more. The ramifications of his actions didn't occur to him
until talking with the Marines he helped that day.
unbelievable to hear the ground guys' story,” Parvin said. “Once I
heard their [account of the events] and listened to the trials and
tribulations they went through, I was like ‘whoa.' I knew what we
did was really important.”
Now, with three deployments, 280
combat hours and 83 sorties, Parvin has had a lot of diverse
experiences throughout his career. “It feels great [because] we
train with all services all the time,” Parvin said. “It doesn't
matter who's on the ground. We're going to work with them no matter
what and no matter when. That's our job as A-10 guys to make sure
they remain safe at all the times and to provide accurate firepower
Cavasos, now stationed at Luke Air Force Base,
Arizona, was also awarded the DFC with Valor in a ceremony Jan. 16,
By U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Ceaira Tinsley
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