CAMP TAJI, Iraq – A UH-60 Black Hawk medical evacuation crew chief from the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, was awarded the Combat Action Badge in a ceremony Feb. 4.
Spc. Jordan Downey, a Black Hawk crew chief and flight instructor from Company C, 2nd Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, stood proudly before his peers as Lt. Col. Christopher Joslin, commander of the 2-227th pinned on his CAB.
Downey, along with the rest of the MEDEVAC crew, received CABs for their actions while taking direct fire into their aircraft Dec. 12, 2006, said Joslin.
On that day in December, Downey’s aircraft was on final approach to the Victory Base Complex when they received fire directly into the cockpit, shooting shattered pieces of the windshield into a pilot’s face, said Downey. The aircraft, which sports a large red cross on the side to denote its status as a medical aircraft, came under enemy fire as it was en route to pick up a patient, according to Maj. Guy Gierhart, commander of Company C, 2-227th.
“My pilot was slumped over. I thought he was dead. I checked my fellow crew chief, he was slumped over. I thought [the bullets] went through the pilot and killed him,” he recalled of the moment shortly after the first burst of fire.
As it turned out the pilot was just in shock and the other crew chief was leaning over while checking the aircraft, said Downey.
“Things were interesting … needless to say, on that day, that entire crew earned a combat action badge,” said Joslin.
“[Receiving the CAB] is kind of a bittersweet occasion because you’re getting noticed for being engaged, being attacked by the enemy – something you don’t really want to experience in your life,” said Downey.
“As [Joslin] said, ‘the only two awards you never really want to get are the CAB and the Purple Heart.’ I’m just lucky I got the lesser of the two,” said Downey.
The two pilots, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Anthony Ferrio, and 1st Lt. Alec Finlay of Co. C, 2-227th, and the other crew chief , Eric Wong of Company A, 2-227th will be awarded the CAB as well, but were unable to attend the ceremony because of mission requirements.