Valour awards for medevac crew

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Five military crewmen with Company C, 6th Battalion, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and assigned to the brigade’s 5th Battalion under Task Force Eagle Assault have been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross following a medevac performed under enemy fire in Afghanistan. Spc Emmanuel Bynum, Captain Benjamin Krzeczowski, Chief Warrant Officer Jonathan Cole, Sgt 1st Class Andrew Six and Sgt Armando Yanez were given their award on 5 January.

The airmen were given the award following a rescue they effected last year. On their second medevac mission of the day, the crew were called to attend at least one patient (an Afghan national) in need of urgent treatment, and were warned that there was enemy fire in the region. The casualty was removed from the battlefield under heavy fire by Six and Bynum, helped by a team of soldiers laying down suppressing fire. Just after the Black Hawk had taken off, however, Bynum saw a US ranger get shot and fall to the ground, and notified the pilot. Bynum’s award citation said: “SPC Bynum completely disregarded his own safety by exiting the aircraft while under heavy fire to provide security for the aircraft and crew.” Six ran to the patient and loaded him onto the aircraft.

Within a minute of take off, Cole reported serious damage to the helicopter’s control system, and reported that flying was risky. Although normal procedure would dictate that the pilot landed the helicopter straight away, the serious condition of the patients meant that Krzeczowski decided to fly to the nearest surgical team in Dahlke. Despite their efforts, the second patient later died of his wounds. It was later found that the helicopter had been shot 22 times during the medical evacuation.

 

Image © Spc. Roland Hale [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

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