marine receives british honor
Bravery and service at its finist. Article here.
Major receives Distinguished Flying Cross at Buckingham Palace
March 21, 2007
LONDON -- The Queen of England presented the United Kingdom’s Distinguished Flying Cross to Maj. William D. Chesarek Jr., during an Investiture Ceremony held at Buckingham Palace, here March 21.
Chesarek, an AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter pilot, was recognized for his service as an exchange officer serving with the U. K.'s 847th Naval Air Squadron, Commando Helicopter Force during combat operations in Iraq in 2006. The award is a level three award for gallantry in the air while on active operation against the enemy and according to the U. K.’s Ministry of Defense office, this is first time this is being presented to an American service member since actions in World War II.
According to the U.K. award citation, during operations in the vicinity of Al Amarah on June 10-11, 2006, Chesarek, flying a Lynx AH7 helicopter, was providing communications relay support to the U.K.’s ground forces during a company sized search operation when the unit encountered insurgents armed with small arms and Rocket Propelled Grenades.
To assist the unit, Chesarek flew in to spot enemy fire and due to being trained as an airborne forward air controller he was able to coordinate, designate and control fixed wing assets in conducting close air support which resulted in dispersing the insurgents.
Additionally the citations states, being the only rotary winged aircraft in the area, Chesarek landed his helicopter adjacent to the scene and extracted a U.K. troop with a life threatening injury. Chesarek then flew the casualty to Shaibah Logistics Base and is credited with saving the life of the wounded soldier in addition to aiding in the safe extraction of the company.
“I am greatly honored and would like to accept this prestigious award for 847 NAS in memory of Lt. Cdr. Darren Chapman RN, Capt. David Dobson AAC, and Marine Paul Collins RM who were killed in action over Basrah in May 2006,” said Chesarek. “The awarded actions were only possible due to the combined effort of my combat crew; Lt. David Williams RN and Lance Cpl. Max Carter RM. My greatest sense of achievement that day is in knowing the ground troops all made it home.”
The first award of its kind since WWII. Well done brother. HT Chuck Simmins and Michelle Malkin.