PJ Earns Prestigious Pitsenbarger Award

TSgt. Davide Keaton, a pararescue jumper with Air Force Special Operations Command’s 24th Special Tactics Squadron at Pope AFB, N.C., is the 2008 recipient of the Pitsenbarger Award, presented by the Air Force Sergeants Association. The award is named for USAF PJ A1C William Pitsenbarger, who received a posthumous Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during the Vietnam War. During a tour in Afghanistan in 2007, Keaton risked his own life to save three Afghan children and two Afghan women being used as human shields during a firefight. He moved through gunfire—four times—to reach them and then shielded the bodies of the victims as he rendered emergency medical care and moved them to safety. In his words: “I’ve got one mission in life. Wherever I go, I’m there to make sure people are treated and they make it home to their loved ones. If it means that I have to get into the heat of battle, that’s what I’m going to do.” (AFSOC report by Capt. Amy Cooper)