Distinguished Flying Cross



Four officers and noncommissioned officers of the 17th TA Sq., were  decorated  with the  Air Force’s Distinguished Flying Cross for their part in the August 14,  1967, rescue of two British Nationals from the frozen wastes of Greenland. 

The presentation ceremony took place March 27, on the flight line at Elmendorf. 

Rescued from their wrecked aircraft on the Greenland ice cap were Bernard  G.  Mocket, Brighton, England, and Sydney J. Woolterton, 12  Major Road, Kent, England. These men were saved from certain death in the sub-freezing environment of the ice cap by the C-130 Hercules aircrew. 

The body of the third victim in the accident, Raymond Hawkins, of Bickley, England, was not found even though the aircrew made a thorough but unsuccessful search.  Receiving the Air Force's six- th highest decoration for distin- guishing themselves by heroism while participating in aerial flight in a C-130 Hercules aircraft were Lt. Col. Woodrow L. Myers, Capt. William D. Nielson, MSgt. Ernest 0. Williams, Jr., now retired, and SSgt. Douglas F. Cave, Jr.

Also receiving United States Air Force decorations for the rescue were Maj. George M. Gregelein, aircraft commander at that time, and Capt. Donald R. Miller, co-pilot of the aircraft. These officers were not able to attend the presentation ceremony because of other military duties. Major Gregelein will receive the Legion of Merit, the Air Force's fifth highest award, and Captain Miller will receive the  Distinguished Flying Cross at a later date.  

On that date last August, while on a routine logistical support mission to the Distant Early Warning  Radar Site III located more than 200 miles east of Sondrestrom AB, Greenland, the aircrew received an aircraft radio communication that a British owned Grand Commander aircraft was overdue arrival at the Island of Kulusuk.

 The aircrew, commanded by Major Gregelein, altered the flight path of their aircraft and took a search heading for the missing  aircraft. In approximately 30 minutes, the scattered wreckage of the airplane was discovered.    A survivor was discovered making a feeble but frantic attempt to attract  his  potential  rescuers.

The decision was then made to make a landing on the un-surveyed and treacherous snow covered ice and pick up the survivors.   

The citation accompanying the award read in part, "Major Myers and crew executed their aircrew duties in an exemplary manner and assisted in providing aid to the downed airmen. Their outstanding acts of heroism and selfless devotion to duty contributed to the safe evacuation of both airmen.”  

Col. Richard R. Coursey, Jr., 21st Comp. Wg., vice commander, in making the presentations, said, "While we are aware daily of the exploits of our fellow members stationed in Vietnam, this experience in Greenland brings into sharp focus the fact that we in the Air Force really and truly have a global mission. We can be found flying and maintaining air- planes   most   anywhere in the world.


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