Nellis Airman Awarded DFC with Valor

The Air Force awarded SSgt. Justin Tite, an aerial gunner with the 88th Test and Evaluation Squadron at Nellis AFB, Nev., the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor Device for his heroic actions during a rescue mission in Afghanistan last year. Maj. Gen. Bill Hyatt, Air Force Warfare Center commander, presented Tite with the decoration during a July 9 ceremony at Nellis. “In all honesty, I’m just humbled to get this,” said Tite. He added, “I don’t take this award necessarily [because] of just what I’ve done. I think it’s more or less for the [rescue] community itself.” On April 23, 2011, Tite was the gunner aboard the lead HH-60 helicopter, call sign Pedro 83, during a mission to rescue the aircrew of a downed Army helicopter. During the course of a six-hour-long mission, Tite’s actions in covering friendly troops and suppressing intense enemy fire helped make possible the life-saving rescue of two soldiers and the recovery of another soldier’s body. In April, Capt. Elliot Milliken, one of the Pedro 83 pilots, received the DFC for his heroics during the mission. (Nellis report by SrA. Jack Sanders)