Airmen Awarded DFC

Three crewmembers of an AC-130 gunship received the Distinguished Flying Cross June 20 for their heroic actions supporting Navy SEALs during a mission in Iraq on Sept. 12, 2007. Maj. David Torraca (since retired), Capt. Timothy Hood, and SSgt. J.H. Smith, all from the 4th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Fla., crewed an AC-130 that was providing cover to a SEAL team infiltrating enemy territory. When the SEAL team became involved in an unexpected firefight with insurgents and incurred three casualties, the gunship crew quickly engaged the enemy, providing a protective wall of fire so the wounded SEALs could be evacuated via helicopter. The weapons fire from the gunship eventually eliminated the insurgents. “They did a fantastic job,” said Col. Brad Webb, 1st Special Operations Wing commander. (Hurlburt report by Amy Oliver)