Osprey pilots become first to receive Distinguished Flying Cross

flying cross

David Haake talks about receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions in Afghanistan, during a ceremony Wednesday morning at Marine Corps Air Station New River.

Don Bryan/Halifax Media
Published: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 at 04:43 PM.

Two Marine Osprey pilots became the first of their kind to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

“This was selfless devotion to the mission,” said Maj. Gen. Robert Hedelund, the commanding general of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. “...The bottom line is that it’s about Marines taking care of Marines.”

Maj. Michael Hutchings and Capt. David Haake were decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross on Wednesday, becoming the first Marine MV-22 Osprey pilots to ever receive the award. The Distinguished Flying Cross is the third highest medal a member of a flight crew can receive. Family, friends and fellow service members gathered to show support for the Marines. Five Marines were also awarded Air Medals for their heroic acts in Afghanistan.

“This is one of the few things that go on in a general’s day that are truly fun,” Hedelund said during the ceremony. “It’s a great honor. From a Marine Corps’ perspective, this is what it’s all about.”

The general and all seven newly decorated Marines agreed that the success of the June 27, 2012, near-fatal mission in Afghanistan was a team effort.

“Receiving the award is definitely gratifying,” said Hutchings who added that he was only doing his job during the June firefight. “I couldn’t have done anything without my Marines.”

Landing in the extremely hostile environment, he wasn’t initially worried about the landing. He was more concerned with getting the aircraft out of the landing zone. He was more interested in doing his job than he was about getting an award, he said.

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