Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Duncan J. McNabb presented Capt. Scott Markle the Clarence Mackay Trophy during a ceremony Oct. 29 in Arlington, Va. Air Force and National Aeronautic Association officials present the award to Airmen or an organization involved in the most meritorious flight of the year. Captain Markle an A-10 Thunderbolt II pilot from the 81st Fighter Squadron at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. (U.S Air Force photo/Andy Morataya)
Capt. Scott L. Markle was presented the Clarence Mackay Trophy during a ceremony Oct. 29 in Arlington, Va. Captain Markle, an A-10 Thunderbolt II pilot with the 81st Fighter Squadron at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, received the award for his actions while supporting troops in contact with the enemy along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. He is credited with destroying three machine gun nests and killing forty Taliban fighters. His actions saved the lives of 15 soldiers who were outnumbered three to one by the enemy. (Air Force Photo/Andy Morataya)
by Staff Sgt. J.G. Buzanowski
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs
10/30/2007 - ARLINGTON, Va. (AFPN) -- Capt. Scott Markle received the Clarence Mackay Trophy during a ceremony here Oct. 29 for his actions while deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom last year.
Captain Markle, an A-10 Thunderbolt II pilot from the 81st Fighter Squadron, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, directly engaged a group of Taliban fighters June 16, 2006, who were in combat with a 15-person special forces team.
"The presentation of this award to Captain Scott Markle underscores the very essence of what we believe about air power and the vital role America's Air Force plays in our nation's defense," said Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Duncan J. McNabb, who presented the trophy to Captain Markle.
Captain Markle was leading a two-ship flight to support a mission in southern Afghanistan when his flight was re-tasked on takeoff to support special forces troops along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in contact with Taliban forces.
When he arrived just before dawn, heavy gunfire and tracers were going in many directions and visibility made it difficult to find the team's location. Captain Markle, unable to employ weapons due to the enemy's close proximity to the team, flew a dangerously low pass over the area while releasing self-protection flares.
The flares momentarily halted enemy fire, which was noted by the ground controller. The controller requested a few more close passes from Captain Markle that gave the special forces team time to create more distance between themselves and the Taliban. This also allowed Captain Markle to strafe the enemy area with more than 1,000 30 millimeter rounds on his final pass.
The special forces team was able to escape with no casualties. Captain Markle was credited with destroying three machine gun nests and killing 40 enemy combatants.
"I am humbled to have my name added to the list of trophy winners, which includes some of the greatest aviators of all time," Captain Markle said at the ceremony.
"Receiving the Mackay Trophy puts you in the company of air power legends," General McNabb said. "Not many names are mentioned in the same breath with the likes of Hap Arnold, Eddie Rickenbacker, Jimmy Doolittle and Chuck Yeager, but tonight, the Markle name is now one of them.
"While we celebrate Captain Markle's incredible achievements tonight, he is not alone," General McNabb said. "As we speak, 35,000 Airmen are deployed fighting the global war on terror and more than 200,000 Airmen fulfill important missions for our combatant commanders around the globe."
Air Force and National Aeronautic Association officials present the Mackay Trophy to Airmen or an organization involved in the "most meritorious flight of the year." The trophy was first awarded in 1911 and is on display at the National Air and Space Museum.