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Project Hero: CWO3 Christopher Palumbo, Silver Star
Posted by: McQ on Saturday, August 19, 2006

Many don't realize how much our Army depends on both attack and assault helicopter elements for our success. And especially when engaged in combat in remote and isolated areas where the minutes of combat can seem like hours and seconds can mean the difference between victory and death. Army pilots such as CW3 Christopher Palumbo and his crew reflect everything that the infantry they support has come to expect and admire about the aviators of the US Army:
Army Chief Warrant Officer Three Christopher Palumbo from A Co., 3rd Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment, was awarded the medal for his actions April 11. Palumbo was the pilot in command of "Skillful 31," the call sign for a UH-60L Blackhawk helicopter conducting aviation operations in Southeast Afghanistan that came under fire while supporting Special Operations Soldiers.

"I was going to do whatever it took to ensure those Special Forces soldiers were protected and spared from any further injuries," Palumbo said. While inserting a quick reaction force and extracting two wounded Soldiers, Palumbo and his crew were credited with killing more than six enemy and were constantly under fire from small arms and rocket-propelled grenades.

"None of the crew aboard Skillful 31 had any reservations," Palumbo said. "Over 50 bullet holes, shot-up engine, shot-up cabin and cockpit, one crew chief wounded, four blades tore up ... we were lucky." Luck may have had something to do with it but Palumbo said, "I think while the fight played out instinct took over and training just kicked in."

Palumbo worried for the safety of his crew but said that none of his crew had any reservations about the importance of the mission or more importantly the troops on the ground.

"I think this incident just reinforced the bond that aviators have with their infantry brethren and reminds us that the war in Afghanistan is not over," said Palumbo. "There are many soldiers all over this country taking the fight to the enemy and persevering." The news of the award shocked Palumbo.

"I never realized the magnitude of the actions we took that day," he said.
You'd have to shoot them out of the sky or run them completly out of fuel before they'd leave the troops they were supporting. The crew of "Skillful 31" lived up to their name that day, much to the everlasting thanks of the grunts on the ground.


Previously featured in "Project Hero":

1LT Brian Chontosh: Navy Cross
PFC Daniel McClenney: Silver Star
PVT Dwayne Turner: Silver Star
MSG Robert Collins & SFC Danny Hall: Silver Star
SSG William Thomas Payne: Silver Star
CPT Christoper J. Bronzi: Silver Star
SSG Charles Good: Silver Star
SR AMN Jason D. Cunningham: Air Force Cross
PFC Jeremy Church: Silver Star
SGT Leigh Ann Hester: Silver Star
CSM Ron Riling: Silver Star
CPL Jason L. Dunham: nominee, Medal of Honor
PFC Joseph Perez: Navy Cross
COL James Coffman, Jr: Distinguished Service Cross
1LT Karl Gregory: Silver Star
1LT Brian Stann: Silver Star
MSG Anthony Pryor: Silver Star
TSGT John Chapman: Air Force Cross
MSG Sarun Sar: Silver Star
1LT Jeffery Lee: Silver Star
SGT James Witkowski: Silver Star
SGT Timothy Connors: Silver Star
PO2 Juan Rubio: Silver Star
SFC David Lowe: Silver Star
SGT Leandro Baptista: Silver Star
SPC Gerrit Kobes: Silver Star
SSG Anthony Viggiani: Navy Cross
LCPL Carlos Gomez-Perez: Silver Star
SGT Joshua Szott: Silver Star
MSG Donald R. Hollenbaugh: Distinguished Service Cross
SGT Jarred L. Adams: Silver Star
1LT Thomas E Cogan: Silver Star
MAJ Mark E. Mitchell: Distinguished Service Cross
CPL Robert Mitchell Jr: Navy Cross
SGT David Neil Wimberg: Silver Star


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.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Great thanks to Army Chief Warrant Officer Three Christopher Palumbo.

Written By: David Shaughnessy

I am pretty busy, wife, kids, job, commenting and reading here (you guys are real demanding on my time, and I resent it;>} and now (in no small part because of you guys, and so that guilt trip is on your head as well) a blog. So therefore I hurry up and get to the "issues of the day" as someone often says and then get on to work, wife, etc.

I see this post each week (or however often you do this) think "that is great" and move on. I never actually read them however, I am a supporter of the troops, I fully appreciate their sacrifices and all that kind of thing after all. That is until today. Shame on me. I choked up and thought of my brother just outside of Baghdad, joined the Army at age 36 and was promptly sent to fat camp (needless to say, no longer an issue) his marriage now struggling, two kids, one of whom he has hardly seen and once he gets back, will probably not be able to see as much as he would like. My grandfather on the USS Saipan in the Pacific in WWII, I think it was hit by a kamikaze. My Uncle, an officer in the Green Berets disappearing into Laos for long stretches in time. I am actually having trouble seeing the keys as I type, luckily few people who even read these posts likely has anything they want to say, so I won’t get any kidding. I am sorry, and once again shame on me. Keep it up. By the end of the weekend I will have read them all. Bless you and Army Chief Warrant Officer Three Christopher Palumbo.
Written By: Lance
Thanks Lance. And you too David.

Let me just say something quickly. When you’ve seen unarmed Dust-Off birds come into hot LZs because troops were hurting - even after being told it was too hot for them - and watched pieces and chunks of the bird fly off and listened to the hollow thumps as it took hit after hit while going in, and not aborting, but flaring gently and taking on the wounded, then lifting off and enduring the same thing again on the way out - while the next one lined up on its final approach to the LZ to endure exactly the same thing - you will never, ever again doubt the courage and valor of Army aviators.

They’re amazing.
Written By: McQ

I hope that the servicepeople whose brave exploits you document so well come to your site, and I also encourge other commenters to let them know how much their service is appreciated.
Written By: David Shaughnessy

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