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MacDill Crew Wins Award For Mission Over Libya

Posted Apr 27, 2012 by Howard Altman

Updated Apr 27, 2012 at 04:50 PM

Back in July, while we were flying in a KC-135 aerial refueling tanker, Senior Airman Christopher Cannon told me an interesting story.

He was in a crew dispatched to fly over Libya during Operation Odyssey Dawn.

This afternoon, the 6th Air Mobility Wing announced that Cannon and two other crewmates from the 91st Air Refueling Squadron were awarded the prestigious “General James H. Doolittle” trophy for their efforts above the Libyan skies during Operations Odyssey Dawn and Unified Protector. 

According to a 6th Air Mobility Wing media release:

The crew, with call sign Bora 93, deployed to Western Europe during 2011 to provide critical aerial refueling support to Coalition and NATO forces. Maj. Marcas Maltby, Capt. Matthew Hedlund and Senior Airman Christopher Cannon were singled out for their exceptional bravery and aviation skill.

The crew expertly negotiated an engine malfunction and maintained mission timing while enroute to refuel three receiver aircraft. Because of their actions, the three aircraft went on to destroy numerous targets, assisting NATO forces in the defense of the innocent Libyan citizens.

Col Lenny Richoux, 6th Air Mobility Wing commander said, “I am extremely proud of Maltby, Hedlund, and Cannon, who were awarded this prestigious trophy for their professionalism, courage, and leadership.  Bora 93 represents all of America’s Airmen who answer our Nation’s call by defending freedom from the sky.”

The three crew members were also noted for their crucial part in the recovery of a fighter pilot. The crew from MacDill seized the initiative to assist, refueling an F-16 fighter which had arrived to provide cover for the fighter pilot. Maltby said, “We could have kept that F-16 out there all day if we had to; we were ready to do what it took to bring that Airman home.”

The pilot was recovered without incident.
As we were flying toward a rendezvous with a B-52, Cannon told me that “as soon as the president went on TV, we knew we were going to be headed there. I was scared to death.”