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[Wreckage of F-117A #806.()]

Aircraft Losses
Vega 31: The Loss of #806

"Awards and Honors"

[Recognised Hulbert Airmen. (USAF)] After the end of Allied Force, recognition was given to those who played a pivital role in the rescue of Vega 31. (NOTE: Other members not listed below were also awarded medals for their role in the Hamer 34/F-16 rescue.)

[16th SOS shield. (USAF)]

16th SOS Wing

[Capt. James L. Cardoso receiving the Silver Star from Secretary of Defense William Cohen. (USAF Photo by Staff Sgt. Angela Stafford)] Unit Award

Outstanding Unit Award (11th for the wing, the 2nd with valior).

Silver Star recipients:

Distinguished Flying Cross recipients:

Bronze Star recipient:

Also Recognized

Other honors

Capt. John Cherrey (81st FS)

[Capt. John Cherrey, receiving the Silver Star from Lt. Gen. Charles Holland, U.S. Air
 Forces in Europe vice commander. (USAF photo by Airman 1st
 Class Kimberlie Drew)] Capt. John Cherrey, 81st Fighter Squadron recieved the Silver Star for his valor during the rescue of Vega 31. As combat search and rescue task force mission commander during the rescue, Capt. Cherry flew his O/OA-10 Warthog at "extreme risk to his life" over unknown Serbian territory while fully exposed to the surface-to-air threats, until he positively identified the downed pilot and his location. He then devised a plan to bring the rescue helicopters to the pilot's position, while providing them maximum protection. He deceived enemy radar and concealed the intended pickup site by maneuvering his formation away from the pilot's position and into surface-to-air missile ranges. Cherrey refused to abandon the pilot and stayed with him until minutes before his rescue.

On Jan. 27, Capt. Cherrey was honored infront of the enitre nation:
Air Force officer guest of president at State of Union address
Released: Feb. 2000

[Spangdahlem A-10 during Allied Force. (USAF)] "An Air Force officer was the sole military guest of the president and first lady at the State of the Union address Jan. 27.
The White House selected Capt. John Cherrey, 81st Fighter Squadron assistant operations officer, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, from a field of Defense Department nominees representing each of the services.
"The whole evening was enjoyable," Cherrey said. "Before the State of the Union address, all of the guests gathered in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. We then took a motorcade to the capitol where we met Hillary Clinton.
[Spangdahlem A-10 during Allied Force. (USAF)] "I was two seats down from the first lady and next to Hank Aaron. I had the opportunity to talk to him awhile before the address began. He's a very interesting person," he said. "After the address, we then went back to the White House where the president greeted us.
"It was quite an honor to be a guest of the president and first lady," the captain said. "And I was honored to represent not only DOD and the Air Force but also all the officers and enlisted troops of the 81st Fighter Squadron."

67th SOS MC-130P Combat Shadow

by Tech. Sgt. Chuck Roberts
352nd Special Operations Group public affairs

[Kneeling (L to R): Capt. Gregory Ervin, Maj. Matthew Brand, Capt. Eric Zimmerman, Maj. John F. McGuire, Staff Sgt. Billy Wilkins. Standing (L to R): Master Sgt. Michael R. Moran, Staff Sgt. Gary L. Martin, Staff Sgt. Lonnie S. Allen, Master Sgt. Bruce J. Kingsbury, Lt. Col. James N. Pankau, Master Sgt. Robert M. Wood, Lt. Col. Ross Victor. (USAF)] For their efforts, the MC-130P crew that both refuelied the rescue team and delivered Vega 31 back to Aviano AB, Italy was named winner of the 1999 Brig. Gen. Ross G. Hoyt Award. This award is presented annually by Air Mobility Command to the most outstanding air refueling aircrew.

The aircrew consisted of: Pankau and Lt. Col. Ross Victor, Majs. Matthew Brand and John F. McGuire; Captains Gregory Ervin and Eric Zimmerman; Master Sgts. Bruce Kingsbury, Michael Moran and Robert Wood; and Staff Sgts. Lonnie Allen, Gary Martin and Billy Wilkins.

Gen. Jerome F. O'Malley Award
RC-135 Rivet Joint

Best Reconnaissance Crew
From Sept 2000 Air Force Association magazine

[RC-135 flies a combat sortie during Operation Allied Force. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Greg Davis)] The crew of Recon 1 was critical in the location and rescue of Vega 31, provided support in the search for three missing US Army soldiers, as well as the resuce of the downed F-16 Hammer 34. Award recipients are from the 38th and 343rd Reconnaissance Squadrons and the 55th Operations Support Squadron, all from Offutt AFB, Neb., and the 95th RS and the 488th Intelligence Squadron, both from RAF Mildenhall, UK.

[RC-135 Rivit Joint airrcaft. (U.S. Air Force Photo)]

Vega 31: The Loss of #806
"Vega 31 is going down!"
"The Rescue"
"Getting Home"
"Awards and Honors"
"The Wreckage"
"The Photos"
[Vega 31 Home]
Vega 31 Home

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