Pave Hawk Pilot Awarded DFC with Valor

Capt. Charles Napier received the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor Device for his heroic actions piloting an HH-60G helicopter during a rescue mission in Afghanistan in December 2012. Col. Ginger Wallace, 517th Training Group commander at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif., awarded Napier the medal during an Oct. 17 ceremony at the school, where Napier is now a student, according to an institute release. “I am really humbled,” said Napier. “The success of the mission is a result of team work. I couldn’t have done it without my crew members,” he said. Napier is credited with saving the lives of three critically wounded soldiers in an Afghan village west of Kandahar by skillfully maneuvering his HH-60 into firing position just 60 feet away from the enemy, shielding friendly forces from enemy fire and allowing a second HH-60 to land pararescuemen to retrieve the wounded, states the release. “That is what we are trained to do. We help people who are in harm’s way,” said Napier. (Monterey report by Natela Cutter)