Rescuers Awarded French Medal

Three airmen with the 83rd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, received the French National Defense Gold Medal with Bronze Star for their heroism during the rescue of a French helicopter crew last month. They are: HH-60 pilot Capt. John Mosier and pararescuemen TSgt. Kristopher Burridge and SrA. Jackson Rogers. Braving high winds, poor visibility, and an unsecured crash site, two HH-60s from the squadron located the downed French helicopter, inserting Burridge and Rogers. While Mosier “set up a blocking pattern” with his helicopter to shield the ground team from potential fire from a nearby Afghan village, the rescuers found, secured, and treated the badly injured French pilot and copilot during the June 11 rescue. The copilot later succumbed to his wounds, but the pilot is recovering from a broken spine. “Getting a medal is a huge honor . . . but getting this guy back to his family is what’s most important,” said Mosier upon receiving the medal, July 8. (Bagram report by SSgt. John Wright)