A U.S. Marine Corps helicopter pilot is the first American to receive the United Kingdom’s Distinguished Flying Cross since World War II.
Queen Elizabeth II presented the medal to Maj. William Chesarek (right) Mar. 21 at Buckingham Palace. A Bell Helicopter AH-1W Super Cobra pilot on exchange with the British 847 Naval Air Sqdn. near Basra, Iraq, he and his crew were flying an AgustaWestland Lynx AH47 in support of 100 British marines on June 10, 2006. A ground vehicle came under attack, and 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.