Editorial Salute - 5/3/12

From the Hunter-stationed 3rd ID Combat Aviation Brigade, comes this  example of battlefield heroics, performed by one of the unit's medical-evacuation helicopter teams. On June 11, 2010, while deployed to Afghanistan, the Blackhawk MEDEVAC helo, piloted by Army First-Lieutenant Douglas Hill, received an urgent radio message that three American soldiers were down with severe wounds, in need of immediate assistance, and evacuation.

The MEDEVAC crew quickly headed for the site of our wounded, amidst rugged mountain terrain, and all-too-common circumstance in Eastern Afghanistan.  Upon arrival, the team medic rode the hoist down to administer emergency-aid.  While doing so, the hovering-helicopter and crew members came under enemy fire.  Despite his aircraft taking several rounds, Pilot Doug Hill would later be cited for his "composure and skill" in maintaining his helicopter's position, while the wounded Americans were hoisted on-board, then they and crew were safely-flown to the designated medical facility.  Credited with ultimately "saving the lives of three American soldiers," last fall, at a Fort Stewart ceremony, conducted by Third-ID Major-General Robert "Abe" Abrams, commendations presented for the crew's heroics, and First-Lieutenant Douglas Hill was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, our nation's second-highest for military valor.   And one additional character fact of note: Lieutenant Hill was a student in law school at the time of the vicious September 11th Attack on America.  Intense patriotism triggered, he stopped his studies to serve our nation.  Personal sacrifice for love of country and the protection of freedom.