DFCs for F-15E Pilot, WSO

Capt. Aaron Dove and Capt. Mike Polidor, F-15E Strike Eagle weapon systems officer and pilot, respectively, received Distinguished Flying Crosses for their actions in Afghanistan Oct. 2, 2009, when they responded to an urgent call for close air support at Combat Observation Post Keating, where about 250 Taliban fighters had surrounded and pinned down some 80 coalition forces, destroying most of the post. Polidor and Dove were on station for about seven hours, as Dove coordinated CAS strikes, relaying coordinates, elevation, and final clearances. He called off strikes twice to correct coordinates, calling the action “intense the whole time.” Polidor described the scene as “absolute pandemonium.” They were not the first strike aircraft on scene, but they took tactical airborne control, “something [F-15E crews] don’t often train for, but they executed it perfectly,” later commented Capt. Gordon Olde, another WSO engaged in Keating action. (DFC report by TSgt. Tammie Moore; earlier COP Keating CAS report by Capt. David Faggard) (Also see NPR report)