Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Special Tactics Officer Captain Barry Crawford to Receive Air Force Cross

Air Force Captain Barry Crawford will receive the Air Force Cross tomorrow in a ceremony at the Pentagon. This prestigious medal is reserved for the most heroic of deeds, and is second only to the Medal of Honor. 


Crawford, a special tactics officer who graduated from the Air Force Academy, is no stranger to valor. He already has the Combat Action Medal for risking his life under fire in direct engagement with the enemy, along with a Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Air Force Commendation Medal with Valor and two devices. A native of Philadelphia and a member of the Maryland Air National Guard, Crawford will receive the Air Force Cross for heroic actions in Afghanistan that saved many lives. 


Crawford braved hour upon hour of withering enemy fire two years ago to call in air strikes and save American ground troops that were ambushed by a huge enemy force. He put himself at great risk, maneuvering in open terrain to fire his own weapon and bring in the helicopters and bombers necessary to defeat the enemy force.

Air Force Magazine has the story and the citation, both of which are riveting reading.

Wow. Just.... wow.




Update: Here is the transcript of a press conference with Captain Crawford.  Here is an audio of his appearance on today's Pentagon-sponsored Bloggers' Roundtable.

15 comments:

Navy Guy said...

They never let us wear beards. Damn Air Force.

BillT said...

If he'd done that in Vietnam, he would have received the AF Cross within a week. Puzzle Palace bureaucrats sitting on the paperwork for two years is inexcusable.

Yeah, yeah, I know -- campfire duty with Minicapt again...

BillT said...

They never let us wear beards. Damn Air Force.

A lot of operators grow beards. Makes the Talib think they're Afghan cops, so the surprise and subsequent @ss-kicking they get is all the more disheartening to 'em.

Summer's coming, so I guess I'll trim mine...

Susan Katz Keating said...

I have refined the rules a bit, and it's okay to mention Vietnam if it makes sense within the context - as in, making a historical comparison. So Minicapt is still on his own at the campfire. Unless you want to give him some tips on spiffing up the s'mores recipe, of course.

Trimming your beard already? But... won't that mess with the aerodynamics and wind speed calculations and the like? Oh wait. You close the cockpit door when you fly. Right?

MDR said...

I got some problems with this WRITEUP and none whatsoever with the guy:
As a SOF officer, especially one who's a FACO attached with an ODA, the tactical mastery of combined arms warfare at the small unit SOF level is expected. Decisive action is a technical requirement, a trained-to standard, not a gallant one. An SFODA along with ANA, should be able to take on and defeat an enemy element that is smaller than company sized by half.
Ambushes are dealt with via rehearsed IA drills and, depending on the unit, are then incorporated into unit SOPs much like LZ procedures both hot and cold. Bounding over open terrain? Me personally, I prefer to move across 'open terrain' as quickly as I could. I'd bound from cover to cover...
I appreciate the terrain spot they were in with regards to conceding the high ground to the attacking force. Can also appreciate the casualty spot. Again, there is nothing extraordinary about this officers' performance. Clarification would be nice in regards to the 'enemy trucks x2' and their 'attack.' Were these vehicles technicals rigged with 23mm cannons?
At any rate, knowing what I know and having read some of Navy Cross citations awarded in this conflict, this writeup is not extraordinary relatively speaking. The Capt did exactly what he was trained to do. Above and beyond is the starting point. I don't agree with this being an Air Force Cross and think it should have been kicked back and written for a Bronze or Silver Star.

MDR

MDR said...

One Saved Round:
The IA drills with regards to SOP when ambushed: Different ones learned at the small unit level. They are then tried out. Which one/s fit the KIND of unit and the SORT of mission profile then become SOPs.

Susan Katz Keating said...

I have updated the post with a transcript of a press confab with our hirsute USAF-er.

BillT said...

Oh wait. You close the cockpit door when you fly. Right?

Ummm -- no cockpit doors.

Me personally, I prefer to move across 'open terrain' as quickly as I could. I'd bound from cover to cover...

I know the area. The only cover from fire coming down from all around you, 500 feet above you, is *inside* the houses.

Minicapt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Susan Katz Keating said...

Puzzle Palace bureaucrats sitting on the paperwork for two years is inexcusable.

So is not getting submitted for a DFC when one was called for.

Clarification would be nice in regards to the 'enemy trucks x2' and their 'attack.

The Bloggers' Roundtable people asked things like, "where did you graduate from high school?" Sigh...

Rob said...

MDR,

nothing against you, your comments are sensible. Unfortunately sometimes it is almost impossible to describe the actions on the day of the operation, additionally the citation is definitely dropped down for opsec reasons. Last but not least, if you were not there in the fight that night into the day, well.......you can't sit back and armchair QB it. As a Special tactics officer/Combat controller integrated into a SFODA their jobs are if not one of the most dangerous and complex jobs on the battlefield. Congrats to Capt. Crawford. Good day to all

Susan Katz Keating said...

Rob, thank you for popping in, and thank you for the commentary. A good day to you, also.

MDR said...

It's the criterion and how it gets misconstrued relative to the actions of the day. Bronze Star and up travel some distance away from where they're written up so as to attain objectivity and further clarification. This way there's no emotional attachment. Pretty cold process, actually. At any rate, that CCT guy did an outstanding job and rates his ass off. Just not the second highest award in the land by comparison to what others have done to receive the same award in the sister services.

Hey, isn't an aircraft carriers' flight deck the most dangerous place to work? Them poor bastards get blown overboard by jet blast all the time.

Navy Guy said...

Glub, glub. Yeah they do.

USAF said...

Hey Susan, thanks a million for posting this. You do a world of good spreading the word.