Capt. Brian Erickson, an A-10 pilot with the 75th Fighter Squadron at Moody AFB, Ga., received the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor on July 11. He earned the honor for providing close air support under hazardous conditions—working without a forward air controller—to help save the lives of six members of a German provincial reconstruction team that came under intense insurgent attack in a Hindu-Kush mountain range valley of Afghanistan on Oct. 16, 2006. “It’s a great honor to be recognized,” said Erickson, who was deployed to Bagram Air Base at the time. “But the real reward was returning those six coalition soldiers safely to the village they were working at.” The DFC recognizes heroism or extraordinary achievement while flying in combat operations. (Moody report by A1C Spencer Gallien)
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.