Queen Elizabeth II presented three Royal Air Force pilots with Distinguished Flying Crosses for exceptional courage and outstanding flying during missions in Afghanistan.
Maj. Mark Hammond and Flight Lts. Christopher Haslar and Craig Wilson from 18(B) Sqdn., received the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace prior to their unit’s redeployment to the war-ravaged country.
Hammond, a Royal Marine Chinook pilot on exchange with the squadron, was honored for overcoming damage to his Boeing Chinook HC2 from enemy fire to rescue two casualties on Sept. 6, 2006. After added hits forced him to abort another rescue, he returned to base and used a spare aircraft to rescue the casualty.
Wilson was honored for rescuing two soldiers with life-threatening injuries on June 11, 2006 in Helmand province, despite having little night-flying experience in the country.
Haslar earned his honor for, on July 7, landing troops in a zone surrounded by three buildings. A week later, he landed reinforcements under gun and rocket grenade fire.