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Six Airmen Awarded Distinguished Flying Cross For Playing Critical Role In 2017 Yemen Raid
Six special operations airmen have each received the Distinguished Flying Cross for their bravery during a doomed special operations forces raid in Yemen in 2017.
On Tuesday, the airmen from the 67th Special Operations Squadron received their awards at Hurlburt Field, Florida, according to Air Force Special Operations Command.
Maj. Ross Biechler, Capt. Justin Nadal, Maj. Mary Spafford, Tech. Sgt. Adam Phelan, Tech. Sgt. Samuel Haydon, and Staff Sgt. Christopher Jones made up an MC-130 crew known collectively as ARSON 69 during the raid on Jan. 28, 2017, in which Navy SEALs were sent to capture or kill a high value al Qaeda terrorist.
Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer William "Ryan" Owens became the first service member killed under the Trump administration during the 2017 mission. The special operations forces were immediately compromised and a fierce firefight ensued.
Amid deteriorating weather and several other aircraft breaking down, the MC-130 crew spent 16 hours refueling 25 aircraft while under the constant threat of ground attack, an AFSOC news release said.
Adding to the chaos, a Marine MV-22B Osprey crashed during the mission.
The crew also played a key role in rescuing the nine service members aboard the MV-22 that crashed by making sure four aircraft had the fuel needed to retrieve the Osprey crew and critical intelligence, according to the news release.
So far, AFSOC officials have not responded to questions from Task & Purpose about the MC-130 crew's role in the rescue.
"I'm very proud of the tremendous accomplishments of this crew," said Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, AFSOC commander, in the news release. "These six airmen exhibit extreme competence that I think defines air commandos. Despite all the difficulties and despite all the chaos with the mission, they knew there was a way and they were going to find it."
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Kade Kurita, the 20-year-old West Point cadet who had been missing since Friday evening, was found dead on Tuesday night, the U.S. Military Academy announced early Wednesday morning.
"We are grieving this loss and our thoughts and prayers go out to Cadet Kurita's family and friends," Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, superintendent of West Point, said in the release.
VISTA —An Iraq war veteran who said he killed a stranger in Oceanside at the behest of a secret agency that controlled his brain was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The sentence for Mikhail Schmidt comes less than a month after a Superior Court jury in North County found Schmidt guilty of first-degree murder of Jacob Bravo, a stranger that Schmidt spotted, followed and stabbed to death on March 8, 2017.
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A Strongsville woman convicted of fleecing an ailing Korean War veteran out of much of his life savings was sentenced Tuesday to three years in prison.
Latasha Wisniewski, 38, feigned a sexual interest in Charles Bauer in late 2017 by taking the 88-year-old widower to a plastic surgeon's office and asking him to pay for breast implants. She then withdrew more than $140,000 from Bauer's accounts over the following months, according to court records.
Mark Mitchell is stepping down as the acting assistant defense secretary for special operations and low-intensity conflict, a position he has held since late June, a defense official confirmed on Tuesday.
No information was immediately available about why Mitchell decided to resign. His last day will be Nov. 1 and he will be replaced by Thomas Alexander, who is currently leading the Defense Department's counternarcotics efforts, the defense official told Task & Purpose.
The U.S. Military Academy identified a cadet who has been missing since Friday evening as 20-year-old Kade Kurita.
A search began for Kurita after he failed to report for a scheduled military skills competition around 5:30pm on Friday. West Point officials said in the Tuesday press release that he is believed to still be nearby.