The Air Force has awarded the Airman’s Medal to MSgt. Noel Murphy for his actions to help save other military personnel when their helicopter crashed into a lake in Iraq. Murphy is assigned to the explosive ordnance disposal flight of the 96th Civil Engineer Squadron at Eglin AFB, Fla. During a 2006 deployment to Iraq, Murphy witnessed a Marine Corps helicopter plunge into a lake during an emergency landing attempt, putting 16 personnel in full combat gear in the 300-foot-deep water. Murphy scaled the dam to reach the bank of the lake and dove in to pull people out of the helicopter. He made repeated efforts and, with others, was able to save 12. (Report by SSgt. Mike Meares.)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.