Nellis Airman Awarded DFC

Maj. Ryan Hayde, an A-10 pilot and commander’s action group chief for the 57th Wing at Nellis AFB, Nev., received the Distinguished Flying Cross for his heroic actions in Afghanistan. On Oct. 29, 2010, Hayde led a nighttime A-10 flight supporting ground forces sent to engage Taliban forces near the Pakistan border. Despite inclement weather and nearly zero visibility, Hayde destroyed several improvised explosive devices buried near five possible helicopter landing zones. During a 35-minute battle, he provided cover fire and coordinated attacks with friendly AH-64 Apaches. His actions allowed a 150-man assault force to land safely, leading to “a successful mission and the capture of more than 25,000 pounds of homemade explosives and 40 kilograms of opium,” said wing officials. “Sometimes getting the opportunity, during what may be the worst day of a soldier’s life, to provide air support and allow that individual to make it home to their family safely, is the most amazing honor you can receive,” said Hayde. “I believe the total air power, not just my flight, enabled all the special operations forces to make it home that night.” His award ceremony was Sept. 30. (Nellis report by SrA. Michael Charles)