A 20th Special Operations Squadron CV-22 Osprey aircrew was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal with Valor for a combat rescue mission last year in the US Central Command area of operations. Pilots Capt. Jonathan Seagle and Capt. John Vandenbemden, and flight engineers SSgt. Spencer Seymore and SSgt. Daniel Teel were decorated by Air Force Special Operations Command boss Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold in a ?ceremony at Cannon AFB, N.M., Oct. 16, according to an Oct. 22 release. On Dec. 5, 2014, the crew, which was on a “presidentially directed” nighttime mission, responded to an urgent evacuation request from special operations forces under intense fire. The crew successfully maneuvered the tilt-rotor into a severely restricted landing zone with minimal visibility, during an ongoing firefight in a “dangerous insurgent-held village,” according to the citations. Seymore exited the CV-22 despite enemy fire to assist in loading the critically injured special operations troops. The crew flew low-altitude evasive maneuvers to safely exfiltrate the area and fly the casualties for medical treatment aboard a Navy vessel. The unplanned landing was the CV-22’s first combat shipboard operation, according to Cannon officials.
Three B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing flew over the Indo-Pacific alongside F-16s from the Japanese Air Self Defense Force recently, as part of a joint large force exercise. The mission began and ended in the continental U.S., as the bombers flew 31 hours and landed Jan. 11.