Once-retired TF Viper pilot receives DFC
He could have remained on the sidelines, with no one holding it against him. After eight years away and with enough years served to have settled into retirement, U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 Tory R. Myers chose to return to active duty.
Two years later he’s on the verge of walking into retirement again not only with distinguished awards but also with the thanks of his fellow soldiers.
Myers, an AH-64D Apache helicopter pilot serving with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, Task Force Viper, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with “V” Device during a ceremony held at Forward Operating Base Salerno in Khowst province, March 8.
U.S. Army Maj. Gen John F. Campbell, commander of Combined Joint Task Force 101 and Regional Command-East, presented the awards honoring Myers for his actions during a complex attack on Combat Outpost Margah in Paktika province, Oct. 30.
“It definitely makes an impression, having [Maj.] Gen. Campbell here for the ceremony,” said Myers, a native of Hollywood, Ala.
Campbell seemed more than happy to have made the trip.
“Whenever we can recognize true heroes like Chief Myers, it’s really, really special,” said Campbell.
Myers, part of the Quick Reaction Force on standby at FOB Salerno that evening, flew through adverse weather conditions to reach COP Margah. He provided precision fire that helped repel more than 300 insurgents attacking the COP.
“They probably would have taken over the COP,” said U.S. Army Capt. David Schulz of Los Angeles, commander of Company F, 2nd Bn. 506th Infantry Regt., Task Force Currahee, who attended the ceremony.
The ceremony afforded Myers the opportunity to meet a few of the Soldiers who had been on the ground at COP Margah the night of the attack.
“His actions greatly influenced the outcome,” said Schulz, detailing how weather conditions were red, or extremely severe, when Myers and his air weapons team were called. Myers insisted on undertaking the mission, and through single-ship refuelling was able to remain overhead at COP Margah for close to six hours performing security operations.
U.S. Army 1st Lt. Matthew Van Arsdale, fire support officer for Company F, 2nd Bn. 506th Inf. Regt. and native of Harmony, Pa., was the commander on the ground that night until Schulz and the QRF arrived. Van Arsdale helped coordinate artillery and mortar strikes along with the defense of the towers.
While Myers was quick to deflect credit from himself during his comments, Van Arsdale, who also attended the ceremony, was more than willing to add his version.
“Chief Myers’ willingness to fly through that ‘red’ air changed the outcome of the fire fight,” he said.
After the ceremony, Campbell thanked Myers and all the soldiers once again for their continued service in conditions around that continue to test the physical and mental limits of service members. It’s that service, according to Campbell, which has been prominently noticed in many quarters in Washington and around the world.
“What you’ve been doing throughout the area is pretty unique and making a big difference,” said Campbell.
As the ceremony wound down, Myers was more than willing to just fade again into the background, out of the public eye, and return to his job. Still, the question will likely continue to be asked.
After having retired once, why did he come back?
“I came back for a combat tour,” said Myers.
He got his wish, and the soldiers from COP Margah remain grateful he was around when they needed him most.
Now, Myers is not only counting down the days to the end of his deployment, but is looking to draw the curtain on his military career. He’ll retire again in March 2012 after 22 years of service. And despite being credited with saving the lives of many Americans through his gallant service under trying conditions, he’s not one to steal the spotlight from his fellow Soldiers.
“Everyone standing here could have just as easily gotten this award,” he said.
Article by Combined Joint Task Force 101