Kadena Pave Hawk Pilots Awarded Distinguished Flying Cross

Maj. Philip Bryant and Capt. Louis Nolting, HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter pilots with the 33rd Rescue Squadron at Kadena AB, Japan, each received the Distinguished Flying Cross for their heroic actions during a rescue mission in Afghanistan in 2011. “I can’t tell you what an honor it is to stand on this stage with Louis and Philip to present this award to them,” said Brig. Gen. Matt Molloy, Kadena’s 18th Wing commander, during the May 8 award ceremony. On March 29, 2011, Bryant and Nolting flew Pedro 84, one of two Pave Hawks that set off with Army AH-64 Apache helicopters to evacuate wounded soldiers from difficult terrain. “It was a higher risk mission,” said Bryant. As Nolting placed the helicopter in a hover to deploy pararescuemen on a steep slope to begin the extractions, the Pave Hawk took heavy insurgent ground fire, knocking out its right engine and causing the helicopter to plummet. Fighting for survival, Nolting and Bryant regained control of the stricken aircraft just in time and then successfully brought it to an Army airfield, saving the multi-million-dollar helicopter and the aircrew’s lives. (Kadena report by A1C Maeson L. Elleman)