Rescue Airmen Honored with Cheney Award

Capt. Kenneth Green, a UH-1N helicopter pilot, and MSgt. Joseph Brownell, a field operation section chief, received the 2011 Cheney Award during a Pentagon ceremony. The two airmen saved the lives of a civilian and his son on Aug. 20, 2011, after they suffered acute mountain sickness while climbing a 9,000-foot peak in the Cascade Mountains of Washington state. Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Larry Spencer presented Green and Brownell with the award on Nov. 1, saying they epitomized the excellence and fortitude of airmen. During the rescue, Green executed a 200-foot hover with his UH-1 and hoisted Brownell down to extract the stranded hikers, according to an Air Force release. “We are truly a team,” said Brownell at the ceremony, honoring his crew members, including the helicopter maintainers. “We can’t do it without them,” he added. The Cheney Award recognizes airmen for an act of valor, extreme fortitude, or self sacrifice during a humanitarian engagement. The award is named after 1st Lt. William Cheney who died in an air collision over Italy in 1918. (Washington, D.C., report by SrA. Christina Brownlow)