JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS - 7/13/2012) -- Two
19th Air Force combat search and rescue pilots were presented the
Silver Star medal at the 19th Air Force's inactivation ceremony July
Gen. Edward A. Rice Jr., the commander of the Air Education
Training Command, presented the third highest military decoration to
Majors Philip Bryant (photo left) and Joshua Hallada (photo right) for their participation in a
recovery mission of two Army pilots who were downed in the Allasay
Valley, an enemy controlled area east of Bagram Airfield,
Afghanistan, on April 23, 2011.
U.S. Air Force photos
by Rich McFadden
According to the citations,
Hallada and Bryant distinguished themselves "by gallantry in
connection with military operations against an opposing armed
force," while leading HH-60G Pavehawks to recover the downed pilots.
"The people who do this mission are not common people," Rice
said, citing combat search and rescue member's commitment to leave
no one behind and ability to demonstrate "valor in the face of the
Hallada's team inserted pararescue teams, while taking
enemy small-arms fire that damaged the aircraft and seriously
injured his flight engineer. After directing his wingman to return
to base, Hallada flew multiple weapons
passes, defending his teams on the ground and killing at least one
insurgent. Hallada used overhead AH-64D Apache attack weapons teams
as cover to attempt rescue of his teams and the distressed pilots.
During the rescue, enemy fire disabled the aircraft hoist
causing Hallada to execute a one-wheel landing to recover
one of his two teams and one of the downed pilots. Hallada
then took heavy fire that caused severe damage to his
aircraft. Hallada continued to provide cover for his team
members and the remaining pilot still at the crash site. He
then transferred his crew to a fresh aircraft and directed
his formation back to the crash site.
"We were just
getting it done," Hallada said. "We look
at it as our job; this is why we're here. And we do it on
the backs of our crews. Our crews were the backbone of the
Bryant's aircraft was engaged by enemy fire
that seriously wounded his flight engineer and caused severe
damage to flight control systems of the aircraft. Bryant
maneuvered to escape and assessed the flight engineer's
injury and immediately directed his aircraft back to base,
for the injured engineer to receive life-saving medical
After obtaining a replacement crew member,
Bryant rejoined the fight and attempted extraction of one of
the isolated pilots and team who were now pinned down by
enemy fire. His aircraft was engaged from both sides, with
rounds striking two of his crew members and missing his own
head by inches. Bryant then coordinated with AH-64D Apache
attack weapons teams to cover a single-ship rescue. His
aircraft was once again targeted and received heavy enemy
Hallada and Bryant led their aircraft back to
the crash site five more times into enemy fire, and
ultimately recovered the downed pilots, the pararescue teams
and a Soldier critically wounded in the effort.
"There are so many other stories besides ours," Bryant said.
"It's a tremendous honor (to receive the Silver Star). I'm
very honored and humbled, but we never would have
accomplished the mission without our attack assets."
Editor's Note: The details of the successful rescue were
taken from the Silver Star citations for Hallada and Bryant.
Courtesy of Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs
Air Force News Service
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Silver Star Recipients