The National Aeronautics Association selected four airmen who comprised Pedro 16 of the 129th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, for the 2009 MacKay Trophy, recognizing the year’s most meritorious flight. The airmen, members of the 33rd Rescue Squadron at Kadena AB, Japan, are: Capt. Robert Rosebrough, 1st Lt. Lucas Will, MSgt. Dustin Thomas, and SSgt. Tim Philpott. During a July 29, 2009, mission, Pedro 16 directed rescue operations by Pedro 15, another HH-60 Pave Hawk crew, to retrieve wounded soldiers from an active firefight, kept in radio contact with the ground commander, and provided emergency close air support, returning fire themselves and acting as forward air control for two Army OH-58 helicopters. Of the harrowing action, Rosebrough said everyone “did their job.” He added, “It could have been any crew in our place that day, and they would have performed the same.” (Read about the action in this Kadena report by Maj. John Hutcheson)
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.