Project Hero: CW3 Lori Hill, Distinguished Flying Cross Posted by: McQ
on Saturday, December 02, 2006
If you're not familiar with the DFC, it is awarded "for Heroism or Extraordinary Achievement while Participating in Aerial Flight". In order of precedence it is worn above the Bronze Star but below the Silver Star. And in the case of the woman who was awarded the DFC, it was definitely awarded for heroism while participating in aerial flight. Meet CW3 Lori Hill:
Back in March in Iraq, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Lori Hill, with the 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, was piloting her Kiowa Warrior when the lead chopper came under heavy fire. She drew the fire away, simultaneously providing suppressive fire for the troops engaged with the enemy on the ground.
A rocket-propelled grenade hit her, damaging the helo’s instrumentation, but instead of focusing on her predicament, she established communication with the ground forces and continued to provide them with aerial weapon support until the soldiers reached safety.
As she turned her attention to the aircraft, which was losing hydraulic power, the helo took on machine-gun fire, a round crashing into one of Hill’s ankles. Still, with a damaged aircraft and an injury, she landed at Forward Operating Base Normandy, saving her crew and aircraft.
For her actions she was presented the Distinguished Flying Cross by Vice President Richard Cheney at Fort Campbell, Ky., on Oct. 16.
“It’s was a once-in-a-lifetime thing to get the award and then have the vice president come and award it to you,” she said. “It’s just incredible for any soldier.”
Recalling that day in March, Hill reflected, “I was actually just glad I didn’t pass out and very happy I was able to help the ground guys out, and get our helicopter down safely on the ground.”
I can't at all say that I'm surprised by Hill's reaction and determination to continue the mission. Our aviators are a special breed, and is obvious, CW3 Hill is no exception. In a crippled aircraft and wounded, she continued the mission of ground support for the troops until she was forced to return to base, landed the aircraft safely, and only then worried about her wound.
PROJECT HERO is an ongoing attempt to highlight the valor of our military as they fight in both Iraq and Afghanistan. We constantly hear the negative and far to little of the positive and inspiring stories coming out of those countries. This is one small attempt to rectify that. If you know of a story of valor you'd like to see highlighted here (published on Saturday), please contact us. And we'd appreciate your link so we can spread the word.