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December 20, 2011 > Fremont native earns top honor for heroism

Fremont native earns top honor for heroism

Submitted By Senior Airman Jessica Green

Chief Master Sgt. Jason E. Red, a California National Guardsman assigned to the 129th Rescue Wing, was presented the Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross November 5 at a ceremony at Moffett Federal Airfield, CA.

Red, a Fremont native and an HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopter aerial gunner, distinguished himself while participating in an aerial mission in the Kandahar province of Afghanistan on Aug. 9, 2009.

On that date, then-Senior Master Sgt. Red flew onboard Pedro 15, a Pave Hawk that was part of an eight-aircraft joint force tasked to enter an extremely hostile area to recover five critically wounded soldiers in the midst of an ongoing firefight.

Undaunted by the threat of hostile action, Pedro 15 approached the zone while Red directed his aircraft safely to the ground through a near zero-visibility landing. Red limited the amount of time his aircraft remained vulnerable in the zone by assisting with the loading of the wounded soldiers.

After departing the zone with four of the five wounded, Lt. Col. Rhys Hunt, a Pave Hawk pilot assigned to the 129th Rescue Squadron and Pedro flight lead, directed Pedro 16 into the zone to retrieve the remaining casualty. Seconds after takeoff, the Pedro flight was ambushed.

Facing a barrage of small arms fire and rocket propelled grenades, Red directed Pedro 15 through multiple re-attacks of enemy positions, repeatedly placing his aircraft in between Pedro 16 and an advancing enemy threat.

Red continued to direct the fight, firing on the enemy positions and eliminating a group of insurgents 50 meters from Pedro 16. His superior airmanship and unfaltering dedication helped save the lives of 16 people that day.

"The Distinguished Flying Cross is one of the highest decorations reserved for those who demonstrate extraordinary courage and airmanship under fire," said Col. Steven Butow, 129th Rescue Wing commander. "These 10 individuals heroically saved the lives of Americans and allies under the most challenging of combat conditions."

The Distinguished Flying Cross is awarded to service members who distinguish themselves in support of operations by heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight. The 129th RQW has 10 outstanding airmen receiving this prestigious medal. They were presented by Brigadier General Matthew P. Beevers, assistant adjutant general of the California Military Department.

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