Pave Hawk Pilot wins Cheney Award

Maj. John Mangan, an HH-60G helicopter pilot, has won the Cheney Award for the rescue of two critically injured marines in Helmand Valley, Afghanistan, on July 2, 2009. Mangan, assistant director of operations for the 41st Rescue Squadron at Moody AFB, Ga., led his formation of two HH-60s on that day to reach the marines, executing multiple approaches into two different landing zones despite intense enemy fire and a lack of communications with ground forces. He credits his team for completing the daunting mission. “There were 15 people on the flight who put their lives at risk to do the right thing and save these guys; it wasn’t just me,” he said. The Cheney Award is presented annually to aviators who demonstrate an act of valor, extreme fortitude, or self-sacrifice in a humanitarian venture. (SAF/PA report by TSgt. Amaani Lyle)