Silver Star for Pave Hawk Pilot

Maj. Charles McMullen, an HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter pilot with the 41st Rescue Squadron at Moody AFB, Ga., received the Silver Star Medal for his gallantry under fire during a rescue mission near Nad E Ali, Afghanistan, in 2009. Gen. Mike Hostage, head of Air Combat Command, presented McMullen with the award during a ceremony at JB Langley-Eustis, Va., earlier this month. Then-Captain McMullen led a task force of two Pave Hawks and two British Apache helicopters that extracted two wounded British soldiers on Dec. 28, 2009, in the face of heavy insurgent ground fire. At one point during the mission, McMullen accelerated his HH-60 into the line of fire between the other Pave Hawk, now pinned down after recovering the first wounded Brit, providing a means of escape for it. “I figured if they started shooting at me, they weren’t going to take out my wingman, who had no way to defend himself,” recounted McMullen. The Silver Star award ceremony took place on April 3. McMullen received the Distinguished Flying Cross last year for a different mission. (Langley-Eustis report by SrA. Jason J. Brown)