United States Air Force photo by Photo by Justin Connaher

In November, 2010, the American-led coalition in Afghanistan launched Operation Bulldog Bite in Kunar province. The aim: to root out Taliban insurgents in the Watapur Valley, and deny them a safe haven from which to operate.

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Photo by Staff Sgt. Cynthia Spalding

When it comes to rescuing soldiers and civilians from the air, Senior Master Sgt. Christopher “Doug” Widener has seen it all throughout his 25 years in the rescue community. The pararescueman has rescued trapped climbers off knife-thin ridges in Alaska and completed four deployments to Afghanistan, earning a Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor for a string of near-nonstop rescues over five days in 2010.

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