Airman Honored for Role in Saving Keating

Capt. Michael Polidor, an F-15E pilot, is the 2011 recipient of the Col. James Jabara Award for Airmanship. Polidor’s actions in his F-15E on Oct. 3, 2009, saved the lives of numerous US soldiers when a large force of insurgents attacked Combat Outpost Keating in Afghanistan’s Nuristan province. Acting as an on-scene tactical air controller, Polidor directed 19 coalition strike aircraft at the height of the battle to thwart the insurgents’ attempts to overrun the outpost and annihilate its inhabitants. Eight US troops were killed and 22 more were wounded in the massive attack. However, “Without [Polidor] being overhead, there would have been significantly more casualties,” said Capt. Prichard Keely, Polidor’s wingman that day and the 2010 recipient of the Jabara award. This honor recognizes an Air Force Academy graduate for noteworthy accomplishment in an aerospace vehicle. Polidor graduated from the academy in 2004. He’s also received the Distinguished Flying Cross for his heroics over Keating. (Colorado Springs report by Steven Simon) (For more, including Polidor’s own description of the battle, see Saving Outpost Keating from the October 2010 issue of Air Force Magazine)