Marine Aviator Wins British DFC, First for a Yank Since WWII

By James T. McKenna | March 22, 2007
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A U.S. Marine Corps helicopter pilot’s gallantry flying with British Marines in Iraq has made him the first American aviator to receive the United Kingdom’s Distinguished Flying Cross since World War II. Maj. William D. Chesarek, Jr., a Bell Helicopter AH-1W Super Cobra pilot on exchange with the British 847 Naval Air Sqdn., received the honor from Queen Elizabeth II March 21 at Buckingham Palace. On June 10, 2006, Chesarek and his crew were flying an AgustaWestland Lynx AH47 in support of about 100 British marines looking for an insurgent weapons cache in the city of Amarah. One of the Marines’ ground vehicles became disabled and came under attack by what Chesarek estimated at 5-10 groups of 3-5 insurgents each. Chesarek and his crew landed and evacuated one British marine shot in the head, coming under rocket-propelled grenade attack as they left the area. Chesarek spent 5 hr flying overhead identifying targets and covering the British troops on the ground.  For related news


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