Pave Hawk Pilots Recognized for Heroism

Capt. Marcus Maris and Capt. Christopher Palmer, HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter pilots assigned to the 512th Rescue Squadron at Kirtland AFB, N.M., received the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor for their heroism during separate rescue missions in Afghanistan in November 2010. Kirtland officials awarded each airman the medal during a base ceremony on April 20, reported the Las Cruces Sun-News. Maris was recognized for his role in a mission on Nov. 14, 2010, when he piloted a Pave Hawk operating from Bagram Airfield that successfully evacuated wounded soldiers from a unit pinned down by insurgent fire despite enemy ordnance striking his helicopter, according to the newspaper. Palmer was cited for two missions while deployed to Bagram, stated the newspaper. During one, he completed a rescue despite enemy fire knocking out his primary flight controls and wounding a crewman and his Pave Hawk being nearly out of fuel, according to the newspaper’s account. In the second incident, Palmer attacked enemy positions that were firing at an accompanying helicopter lowering medics to help wounded soldiers.