Pave Hawk Pilots Recognized for Heroism

Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz presented two Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor medals each to Col. Christopher Barnett and Maj. John Creel, two HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter pilots, during a Pentagon ceremony. Schwartz honored both airmen for their heroism in two separate battles in Afghanistan in 2009. On April 4, 2009, Barnett and Creel flew their Pave Hawk through multiple firefights and a blinding sandstorm to save the lives of more than 40 special forces soldiers and an Afghan soldier near Kajaki. On May, 19, 2009, they flew into a Taliban stronghold three times to rescue injured soldiers, while also helping to eliminate enemy positions. “These are amazing feats of service to our country,” said Schwartz at the May 18 ceremony. Barnett attributed his recognition to the dedication of all the airmen he worked with in Afghanistan. “Every person . . . who has worn the uniform before, or is in the uniform now, is capable of doing this. This is what we do,” added Creel. Barnett also received a Bronze Star medal during the ceremony. (Washington, D.C., report by TSgt. Richard A. Williams Jr.) (See also Barnett-Creel transcript.)