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Bay Area Guardsmen to be recognized for heroism

MOFFETT FEDERAL AIRFIELD, Calif. -- Ten California Air National Guardsmen from the 129th Rescue Wing will be presented the Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross at a ceremony here tomorrow, Nov. 5 at 3:00 p.m.

129th Rescue Wing Airmen from around the Bay Area heroically performed combat rescue missions in Afghanistan, often under hostile fire, in 2009 and 2010. Because of these actions they will receive the Distinguished Flying Cross, a medal awarded to servicemembers who distinguish themselves in support of operations by heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight.

"The Distinguished Flying Cross is one of the highest decorations reserved for those who demonstrate extraordinary courage and airmanship under fire," said Col. Steven Butow, 129th Rescue Wing Commander. "These 10 individuals heroically saved the lives of Americans and allies under the most challenging of combat conditions."

The recipients include HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter crew members and pararescuemen from the wing who provided 24-hour alert at Kandahar Airfield and Camp Bastion in the Helmand province of Afghanistan. Performing up to eight rescue missions each day in active combat zones, 129th Rescue Wing Airmen were credited with saving 345 injured people, including joint forces, coalition personnel and Afghan nationals.

The medals will be presented by Brig. Gen. Matthew P. Beevers, California Military Department Assistant Adjutant General. U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren is slated to attend the event and will address the award recipients and the 129th Recue Wing.

The primary mission of the 129th Rescue Wing is to train and be prepared to perform its wartime mission of combat personnel recovery anywhere in the world. In addition to its wartime mission, the unit also works closely with the Coast Guard and various civil agencies on state missions. The unit has saved 947 people to date. For more information, go to www.129rqw.ang.af.mil.

Media are invited to cover the event. Please contact Maj. Alyson Teeter at 206-701-9259 for more information.