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Tampa Native Richard Joy II Receives Distinguished Flying Cross For Heroic Rescue Mission

Posted Nov 24, 2012 by Howard Altman

Updated Nov 24, 2012 at 05:36 PM

A (very) belated congrats to Air Force Tech Sgt. Richard Joy II, originally from Tampa, for earning The Distinguished Flying Cross (With Valor).

Joy, 37, received the honor in February for a rescue mission he flew as an aerial gunner on a HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter nearly two years ago.

Joy, flying with the 83rd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron of the 455th Expeditionary Operations Group, 455th Air Expeditionary Wing at Bagram Airfield, went on a high-risk mass casualty rescue mission in support of coalition forces in Watapur Valley.

According to the citation:

As the primary radio operator in contact with command and control elements, Sergeant Joy learned friendly forces were pinned down and had taken heavy casualties due to enemy fire. After he identified the landing zone, Sergeant Joy and his crew began their approach. The extreme mountainous terrain required his crew to perform a precision hover and hoist. As soon as the aircraft was established in the hover, an intense volley of small arms and heavy machine gun fire enveloped the helicopter from three sides, with several rocket propelled grenades exploding 20 feet from his position. As rounds impacted inches from his position, Sergeant Joy relayed enemy positions to his crew and accurately returned lethal fire. Despite the volume of gunfire directed at his aircraft, Sergeant Joy continued to neutralize enemy positions until the pararescuemen were safely on the ground. Once the last casualties were ready for evacuation, Sergeant Joy’s crew returned to the landing zone they had just been effectively engaged in, to deliver critical medical, food and ammunition resupply bundles and recover the injured personnel. In the end, 11 casualties were evacuated. Were it not for his heroic actions under direct enemy fire, many of those men would not have survived. The outstanding heroism and selfless devotion to duty displayed by Sergeant Joy reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.