HomeNewsArticle Display

Special Operations Command aircrew recognized for meritorious flight

Every year, an aircrew is selected for the Clarence Mackay Trophy, which is presented to an aircrew for accomplishing the most meritorious flight of the year. The trophy is permanently displayed at the National Air and Space Museum. (Courtesy Photo)

An AC-130U aircrew from Air Force Special Operations Command was selected to receive the Clarence Mackay Trophy for accomplishing the most meritorious flight of the year. The trophy, which is permanently displayed at the National Air and Space Museum, is presented to one aircrew each year for its accomplishments. (Courtesy Photo)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO – LACKLAND, Texas (AFNS) -- Every year, an aircrew is selected for the Clarence Mackay Trophy for accomplishing the most meritorious flight of the year. This year, an AC-130U aircrew from Air Force Special Operations Command, which included one of 25th Air Force’s outstanding Airmen, was recognized with the honor.

“We're incredibly proud of our Airman and all of our Airmen's contributions to the AFSOC mission,” said Col. Michael Stevenson, the 363rd Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing commander.

Staff Sgt. David, a 25th Intelligence Squadron direct support operator, is assigned to AFSOC for missions, but he belongs to the 25th IS and 363rd ISRW.

The entire crew was recognized for their valiant effort during a particular mission.

The award citation reads, “While providing armed overwatch for an American and Afghan ground force, the friendly team was caught in a deadly ambush by a large insurgent force. The friendlies were engaged by small arms, heavy machine gun, and grenade fire from multiple defensive fighting positions. The crew of (the AC-130U) provided close air support to the friendly ground force with the (several) guns to allow the ground force the freedom to maneuver and provide care for friendly casualties.

“In order to protect the ground team from enemy personnel, the crew… expertly employed a gun at an unprecedented 12 meters from the friendly personnel. Due to the outstanding airmanship and bravery under extremely challenging circumstances, (the crew) destroyed ten defensive fighting positions, multiple enemy personnel, and three enemy technical vehicles, in order to save the lives of (many) friendly special operations forces personnel who would have otherwise perished in the enemy ambush.”

The wing’s commander is appreciative of David and all Airmen who work on special operations’ missions.

“The mission of the aircraft and crew that day was incredibly important to the friendly ground forces in danger of being overrun. The decision to have the AC-130 remain on station into daylight hours shows just how perilous the ground situation was,” Stevenson said.
“Our Airman's mission on that aircraft is to provide threat warning to the crews and the supported teams on the ground,” he said. “Operating into daylight put further pressure on David, given his important responsibilities, and we are incredibly proud of the contributions he made to the award-winning mission.”

David’s squadron commander echoed his sentiments.

“We are extremely honored at the recognition of the crew that included one of our own 25(th) IS Airmen,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Norton, the 25th IS commander. “David was on his first combat sortie the night the crew was called. His actions that night lived up to a proud heritage of Direct Support Operators who have provided critical threat warning for and from AFSOC aircraft for over twenty five years.”

“The professionalism, training and dedication of the men and women of the 25(th) IS is beyond reproach and has been proven in combat day and night for over 15 years,” Norton said. “Our team of direct support operators, tactical systems operators, intelligence analysts and maintenance professionals are second to none and honor a proud legacy and spirit of those ‘Born Under Fire’...Any time, Any place!”

The Mackay Trophy was first presented by Clarence Mackay in 1912 and was later deeded to the National Aeronautic Association. The trophy is awarded for the "most meritorious flight of the year" by an Air Force person, persons, or organization. The United State Air Force determines the winner and the National Aeronautic Association presents the trophy to the winner at the fall awards dinner. The first Mackay Trophy winner was a young second lieutenant—Henry H. ’Hap’ Arnold.

The Clarence Mackay Trophy is permanently displayed at the National Air and Space Museum.

Engage

Facebook Twitter
.@20FighterWing votes for #NapoleonDynamite as they welcomed Jon and Doug Heder to the base. https://t.co/I8wZLFGE5T https://t.co/Un04Fz1tra
RT @DeptofDefense: Preparation is key. Who you prepare with is, too. @USAirForce airmen recently trained with their Filipino 🇵🇭 counterpart…
.@LukeAFB Lightning integrated technicians utilize cross functional teams to unify #maintenance specialties, increa… https://t.co/m4Vni22u4h
A new storage facility @TeamMisawa allows propulsions #Airmen the ability to rapidly provide F-16 Fighting Falcon e… https://t.co/xEnuApKS45
The nation’s most elite, #USAF #HonorGuard team, recently debuted their 2019 routine! (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemb… https://t.co/QxwpQdczUO
20 @AFSpecOpsCmd #Airmen will ruck from TX to FL in honor of Staff Sgt. Dylan J. Elchin, a #SpecialTacticshttps://t.co/bbti0C2Nlm
#Doyouevenlift? We do! @AirMobilityCmd #C17s recently delivered #hope on its way to the man-made humanitarian crisi… https://t.co/b1GicnXJ3l
.@AFWERX & @Techstars announce the 10 companies participating in #techaccelerator. See how they're working to solve… https://t.co/BCdoR4Cmmt
RT @DeptofDefense: These probably aren’t the FRIES you’re used to. @USArmy Special Forces operators practice their skills with the Fast Ro…
RT @AFEnergy: From installations, to propulsion, to maintenance, to research... engineers are critical to every part of the @usairforce mis…
.@HAFB #Airmen and the F-35 are a lethal combo during exercise Red Flag. For more about the exercise:… https://t.co/nc7F82hPI8
A B-2 Spirit bomber, deployed from @Whiteman_AFB, is staged on the flightline @JointBasePHH, Jan. 30, 2019. (… https://t.co/SVPJe2AfGH
#USAF, @USMC & @USArmy air & ground force elements train together, strengthen skills in the field and sky. #Jointhttps://t.co/Arm1IXIaDy
#DYK: @DMAFB is one of seven #AirForce bases w/forward area refueling point capabilities, and there are only 63 qua… https://t.co/UI2SzoYdjA
RT @AirMobilityCmd: Anyone out there watch Super Bowl LIII? Well, @USNorthernCmd and NORAD fighter aircraft kept the airspace safe during t…
#AirForce formalizes policy on retention of non-deployable Airmen. https://t.co/O8yfj5acRt https://t.co/7t5ynNMgo2
It's a 2-way street! Find out how our #ProfessionalDevelopment Teams are a benefit to both mentor and mentee.… https://t.co/nxmtpZWnis