KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (KRQE) - A flight engineer from Kirtland Air Force Base was honored Friday for heroic flying during combat in Afghanistan.
Staff Sgt. Brandon Hill received the Distinguished Flying Cross in a morning ceremony.
He is with the 512th Rescue Squadron of the 58th Special Operations Wing based at Kirtland.
"There was a company of troop, somewhere close to about 160 guys, that were inserted for this operation," Hill said. "We ended up picking up high 50s, low 60s of the guys all wounded."
"It was intense. It was just nonstop."
Hill was aboard the HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter in what the Air Force called a "high risk mass-casualty evacuation" on Nov. 10, 2010.
Coalition forces were pinned down taking heavy fire and casualties.
"As the HH-60 established a hover, an intense volley of small arms and heavy machine gun fire enveloped the helicopter with several rocket-propelled grenades exploding 20 feet from its position," his award citation reads. "As rounds struck his aircraft, Hill lowered pararescuemen via a hoist so they could treat the wounded on the ground.
"Once the wounded had been effectively triaged, Hill and his aircrew returned to the area to hoist the remaining pararescuemen and critically wounded."
The DFC, first authorized in 1926, is awarded to service members who distinguish themselves in flight by heroism or extraordinary achievement.
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