Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Wednesday Heroes

Maj. William D. Chesarek, Jr.
Maj. William D. Chesarek, Jr.
Royal Air Force's 847th Naval Air Squadron, Commando Helicopter Force

Maj. William D. Chesarek, Jr. has done something no other U.S. service member has done since WWII. On March 21 of this year, Maj. Chesarek was awarded the British Distinguished Flying Cross, by Queen Elizabeth, for saving lives and in recognition for his bravery during combat operations in Iraq. Maj. Chesark was assigned as an exchange officer with the Royal Air Force's 847th Naval Air Squadron, Commando Helicopter Force in 2005 and was the pilot of the RAF’s Lynx Mk7 helicopter.

On the evening of June 10, 2006, Chesarek was providing radio communication relay for British ground troops conducting a company-sized search operation near Amarah, Iraq. Listening to radio transmissions, he overheard that a vehicle involved in the operation had became disabled and a crowd of insurgents was firing small arms and rocket-propelled grenades at the company.

According to his award citation, "Chesarek elected to fly low over the area in an attempt to distract the crowd and if possible, to engage the insurgents." Because the crowd was so close to the ground troops, instead of engaging his machine gun, he "opted instead to provide bold, harassing, very low level flight over the area in an attempt to disperse the crowd."

You can read Maj. Chesarek's story in it's entirety here.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. If you would like to participate in honoring the brave men and women who serve this great country, you can find out how by going here.

On the same day, the Queen awarded a Military Cross to a British Army Medic; the first woman to ever receive such an award. More here.

Speaking at the ceremony Michelle, now 19, told how the wounded man, Colour Sergeant Ian Page, was a good friend, and 'like a father to me.'

She recalled: 'The gunner shouted down to me that the vehicle commander was injured. I couldn't see how badly until I got out of the vehicle.

'A bullet had hit his rifle and actually gone through it and into his face.

'At first I didn't realise they were still firing at us. I was more worried about whether I would remember all the training and do the right thing, but it did all come rushing back to me.

'I remember the gunner yelling at me to get down. I heard rounds come whizzing past my head and I thought 'Yes, I probably do need to get down now.

'Before I could move he grabbed me and dragged me down into the vehicle.'

Thanks to her bravery Colour Sgt Page subsequently made a full recovery and has since returned to duty.

Typical British understatement: "Yes, I probably do need to get down now."

A woman Air Force Pilot was recently awarded the Distinguised Flying Cross for her actions in 2003. Killer Chick. More of her story here, here and here.

Combat Cameraman receives the bronze star.

Burned and going into shock, a combat medic continues to save lives. He received a silver star for his actions.

- May no soldier go unloved