Three rescue airmen assigned to Nellis AFB, Nev., received the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor for heroic actions in Afghanistan. They are: Maj. Keith Altenhofen, 561st Joint Tactics Squadron instructor pilot; MSgt. Joshua Fetters, 34th Weapons Squadron flight engineer; and TSgt. Christian Corella, 88th Test and Evaluation Squadron aerial gunner. On April 4, 2009, then Staff Sergeant Corella manned his .50 caliber machine gun through a blinding sand storm as his HH-60 helicopter helped evacuate a wounded Afghan soldier, saving his life. Corella is also credited with saving the lives of 40 US special forces soldiers that same day by redirecting their convoy after it had come under enemy attack. In separate action on May 19, 2009, then Captain Altenhofen and Fetters conducted three successful personnel extractions with their HH-60, overcoming heavy enemy fire and a critical engine failure to save three wounded soldiers. They also got much-needed supplies to friendly ground forces. (Nellis report by SrA. Michael Charles)
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.