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U.S. Army Sgt. Brian Bentley and U.S. Army Spc. Zech Burke, both cavalry scouts with 1st Plt. and a Bennington, Vt., resident, along with several Afghan National Policemen help unload (click for more)

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FOWARD OPERATING BASE FENTY, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Col. Don Galli, commander of the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, Task Force Falcon, presents a Broken Wing Award to U.S. Army Capt. Patrick DuBois, Colorado Springs, Colo., a pilot with Troop C, TF Lighthorse, 3rd CAB, TF Falcon, during an awards ceremony Sept. 15 on Forward Operating Base Fenty. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Candice Pepple, Task Force Lighthorse, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, Task Force Falcon)


Two Task Force Falcon Soldiers received the aviation Broken Wing Award Sept. 15 at Forward Operating Base Fenty. U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jacob Crause, from Kent, Wash., and U.S. Army Capt. Patrick DuBois, Colorado Springs, Colo., both with Troop C, TF Lighthorse, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, TF Falcon, earned the award for their actions eight months ago.

On the morning of Jan. 19, Crause and DuBois were piloting a Kiowa Warrior helicopter departing from Jalalabad Airfield. While maneuvering to provide cover for the lead aircraft, their aircraft lost hydraulic pressure, which Crause said was like “driving a humvee truck without power steering, except it's in three dimensions, and you can't pull over to the side of the road.”

“In our particular case, it became apparent very early on that something else was not quite right with the flight controls,” said Crause. “Moving the flight controls in one direction was about three times harder than moving them in the opposite direction. This is unusual and was not the case in a previous hydraulics failure I experienced during my tour in Iraq. I realized that without the help of my left-seater, [Capt.] Dubois, I was going to have a very tough time getting the aircraft down in one piece.”

Crause began executing emergency procedures and regained stable-level flight in a wider valley. Together, with Dubois controlling the rate of decent and Crause controlling the direction of movement, the pilots maneuvered the aircraft back to the runway, notifying the tactical operations center of the situation.

As they neared the airfield, visibility decreased from five miles to half a mile due to smoke and haze. With the decreased visibility and the remaining mountainous terrain before them, Crause determined to remain at altitude to provide best clearance.

The two pilots were able to maneuver the Kiowa Warrior, land and shut down without further incident.

“The only time fear entered the equation was after we came to a complete stop and I realized what we had just done,” said Crause. “We made a pretty smooth landing; skidding to a stop after about 50 feet. I can neither confirm nor deny that we may or may not have executed a high-five in the cockpit after we came to a safe stop.”

"I am extremely proud of both Crause and Capt. Dubois,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Thomas vonEschenbach of Auburn, Ala., commander of TF Lighthorse, 3rd CAB, TF Falcon. “They were truly deserving of their Broken Wing Awards as they kept calm under the pressure of an emergency situation by making great decisions and demonstrating great technical skill in flying their aircraft from the battlefield safely back to the airfield. Their determination and skill personifies what I call the ‘Lighthorse Spirit’; a spirit that accepts every challenge and accomplishes every task assigned making the most difficult look easy."

The awards were presented by U.S. Army Col. Don Galli, commander of TF Falcon, from Haverton, Pa.

“I'm very honored to have received this award,” said Crause. “However, I hope this is my last opportunity to do so.”


Last Updated on Friday, 17 September 2010 23:54


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