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Hilkert awarded Distinguished Flying Cross


WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE — Maj. Mike “Vago” Hilkert received the Distinguished Flying Cross with a “V” device for valor in a ceremony Oct. 2 on Whiteman Air Force Base. 

Brig. Gen. Mike “Angry” Schultz, the 442d Fighter Wing Commander, presented the medal to Hilkert.

The Distinguished Flying Cross was awarded for actions taken during a combat search and rescue operation in the Kapisa province of Afghanistan in the early morning hours of April 23, 2011.

“For the context of this mission that this Distinguished Flying Cross is being awarded for, the other medals that have been awarded already to members of the armed forces include four Silver Stars – two of them to helicopter pilots, two of them to Pararescue Jumpers – and three Distinguished Flying Crosses with valor,” Lt. Col. Rick “McGraw” Mitchell, the 442d Operations Group deputy commander, said during the ceremony. “So today will mark the fourth Distinguished Flying Cross awarded for what’s become known as one of the most intense combat rescue missions of the Afghanistan war.”

The mission involved securing two landing zones, rescuing the two Guardian Angel pararescue jumpers, recovering a downed Kiowa helicopter pilot and enabling evacuation of 32 soldiers in an Army quick reaction force.


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