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First Award of DFC to V-22 Pilots
By Harold Hutchison

The pilot and co-pilot of a V-22 Osprey have been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism during a 27 June, 2012 operation in Helmand province. These are the first such awards to any pilot of the tilt-rotor aircraft, which has been serving in Afghanistan since 2009.

Major Michael Hutchings and Captain David Haake were presented with the awards recently. They had inserted a force of Marines on a reconnaissance mission when they came under heavy fire. Despite heavy damage, the pilots were able to get their V-22s back to bases, and then returned the next day to extract the Marines who had completed their mission.

The force inserted would suffer only one casualty: An Afghan soldier who was shot in the leg. Four other Marines in the Osprey air crews were awarded the Air Medal.