View Full Version : Bronze Star for Valor to Air Force Lieutenant Aaron Butler

04-20-2011, 12:53
Wanted to share this. I was fortunate to be present yesterday when this Bronze Star for Valor was presented to Air Force Lieutenant Aaron Butler for actions as an Air Force Pararescue Team Leader. Butler is now a student in the Doctorate in Physical Therapy Program here at the AHS.

Technical Sergeant Aaron M. Butler distinguished himself by heroism as a HH-60G Pave Hawk Pararescue Team Leader near Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, on 29 July 2009.

On that date, Sergeant Butler led a six man Pararescue team on a two ship formation, PEDRO 15 and PEDRO 16, tasked with an urgent MEDEVAC. While PEDRO 16 provided cover fire and SHAMUS 34 and 36 expended Hellfire missiles, Sergeant Butler’s aircraft executed a tactical approach to a brown out landing. Immediately, his aircraft received multiple rounds of small arms fire to include a round through the co-pilot’s windshield. As the aircraft lifted, he climbed over the aft console to assess the injuries to the pilots and to ensure their wounds were not life threatening.

Sergeant Butler and his crew voluntarily risked their lives when they decided to return and rescue the patients and Pararescuemen on the ground from the ambush. Once on the ground the second time, PEDRO 15 started taking accurate belt-fed heavy machine gun fire. The disabled aircraft stayed in the landing zone as long as possible before catastrophic damage would occur. Due to multiple systems failures and a major fuel leak inside the cabin, the aircraft had to land less than two miles away.

Sergeant Butler took control of the crash site, ensuring the 360 degree perimeter was covered. While the group was taking fire, he expertly maneuvered the crew members to safer positions around the downed aircraft. After 18 minutes on the ground, PEDRO 16 landed to extract the patients. Sergeant Butler safely transferred the patients under heavy small arms fire. His actions saved the lives of the three patients and ensured the survival of his crew.

By his heroic actions and unselfish dedication to duty, Sergeant Butler reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

wet dog
04-20-2011, 13:02
Excellent news!

Despite everything else that could, might or will go wrong today, I'll be thinking of the actions Aaron Butler.

04-20-2011, 13:08
Congrats PJ Tech Sgt Butler........:lifter:lifter:lifter

Big Teddy :munchin

04-20-2011, 13:26
Outstanding news! Congratulations on earning your award. It was a job well done!

Red Flag 1
04-20-2011, 13:35
Good on ya PJ !!

Best of luck in your training!

04-20-2011, 13:36
Here's more on the event as reported previousy. The pic shows TSgt Butler and CPT Jennings (co-pilot of PEDRO 15).

Airman Helps Rescue 3 Injured Warriors During Battle In Afghanistan
ANS, 11 dEC 2009

An Air National Guard member from the 129th Rescue Squadron here recently returned home from her deployment to Afghanistan after being wounded by enemy forces while rescuing three injured American Soldiers July 29.

Capt. Mary Jennings, an HH-60G Pave Hawk co-pilot, launched her rescue helicopter, call sign Pedro 15, from Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, en route to a convoy that had fallen under attack after a vehicle struck an improvised explosive device.

"We couldn't see any enemy fire as we arrived on scene," said Maj. George Dona, Pedro 15 pilot, also from 129th RQS. "We were in voice contact with the Soldiers on the ground and we could hear over their radios that they were under distress."

The Soldiers were taking cover from hidden enemy positions on the western side of the convoy. The helicopter took immediate fire from the enemy upon the first landing, taking off right away, in enough time to drop off two pararescuemen in the zone, Major Dona said.

"One shot actually came directly into the cockpit and pretty much destroyed the entire co-pilot windshield," Major Dona said. "Captain Jennings took shrapnel and there was blood instantly all over her side."

The pararescue team lead member from the 71st Rescue Squadron assigned to the 23rd Wing at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., stayed on the aircraft after the first landing to ensure Captain Jennings was all right while the rest of his pararescue team deplaned to collect the patients. The HH-60G flew about a mile south to escape enemy fire and to guarantee that both the helicopter and crew were in good enough condition to continue the save, Captain Jennings said.

"The helicopter was determined fully functional," she said. "We couldn't bring ourselves to return home without the patients."

Despite the danger the aircrew faced, the crew including Senior Master Sgt. Steven Burt, a 129th RQS flight engineer, and Tech. Sgt. Tiejie Jones, a 129th RQS aerial gunner, returned to the scene after getting a call from the pararescuemen saying they were ready to haul out the three patients, Major Dona said.

"Then again, as soon as we landed we took immediate fire. We landed next to the patients and the (pararescuemen) were already moving them in," he said. "We took constant fire, and in about 20 rounds to the backside of the helicopter the systems started to deteriorate slowly."

Captain Jennings told Major Dona, who was on controls, to hold the helicopter on the ground through the fire as she watched the pararescuemen load the patients onto the helicopter.

"There were people yelling, lights flashing, and people screaming through the radios, all while dodging bullets," Captain Jennings said. "Major Dona had a lot of patience and confidence in his team to stay on the ground through all the chaos. His amazing pilotage skills saved all our lives."

About 30 seconds after takeoff, the back cabin was full of fuel, hydraulics were leaking, and systems were not working correctly. Captain Jennings flipped the fuel selector to cross feed between the two fuel tanks to keep the engine from flaming out. This was a huge factor in keeping the helicopter airborne, Major Dona said.

"As I enabled the second tank, I saw it was ticking down to zero as well," Captain Jennings said. "We needed to land. It was a decision to either crash three miles away or land two miles away."

The helicopter crew made the right decision. After landing the helicopter about two miles south of the convoy attack, the crew shut down and quickly secured a perimeter to protect the patients. Another HH-60G landed next to their crippled helicopter and the crew loaded all patients and as many crewmembers as possible before departing, Major Dona said.

"Army OH-58D Kiowa helicopters came to retrieve the rest of the crew," Captain Jennings said. "Being small single-engine, single-rotor, two-seater helicopters, there was no room for us inside. We had to stand on the skids and hold onto rocket pods."

Sergeant Burt also showed valor during the ordeal. While pararescuemen were loading patients onto the second HH-60G and the crew was being exfiltrated on to the skids of their cover ships, one of the pararescuemen called for help. Sergeant Burt ran through a rain of fire to help, Captain Jennings said.

"He totally put his life on the line," she said. "I'm extremely proud of my crew's heroism."

Looking back at the incident, Captain Jennings said she is thankful for her crew and their bravery.

"In a country where rocket-propelled grenades are used everywhere, it was a amazing that no one had an RPG. Everything was covered in fuel, including ourselves." she said. "It was nothing short of a miracle that we survived."

Captain Jennings was awarded a Purple Heart by Maj. Gen. Dennis Lucas, commander of the California Air National Guard, in a ceremony attended by her family, friends and fellow 129th RQW Airmen Dec. 6 at the Santa Clara Convention Center.


This is the program in which TSgt Butler is now enrolled.

Air Force Officials Select Airmen For Physical Therapy Training
ANS, 22 jAN 2010

An Air Force board here selected two Airmen to attend the U.S. Army-Baylor University Doctoral Program in Physical Therapy at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

First Lt. Ronald Miller of Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., and Tech. Sgt. Aaron Butler of Moody AFB, Ga., were selected to attend the 28-month academic program beginning in October, which will be followed by a one-year internship.

The board met Dec. 15 and selected two of eight applicants. Applicants selected had an average 1,090 Graduate Record Examination score and a 3.81 GPA.

The doctoral program provides students entry-level competence in traditional physical therapy skills. Air Force enlisted students are commissioned in the Air Force Medical Science Corps as second lieutenants. Airmen join the Air Force Biomedical Sciences Corps upon successful completion of training. Successful completion of the program awards a doctor of physical therapy degree from Baylor University.

Baylor University and the Army first teamed in 1971 to establish an entry-level master's degree program. In July 2002, the program was approved by Baylor University officials to transition to granting a doctor of physical therapy degree, and officials with the Commission on Accreditation for Physical Therapy Education subsequently granted approval for the change. The first doctor of physical therapy class began the program in December 2003 and graduated in April 2006.


And so it goes...

Richard :munchin

04-20-2011, 18:32
Well done LT!

04-20-2011, 22:50
Exactly what is expected of a PJ. Congrats, LT.

05-27-2011, 14:09
Congratulations, LT. Men like you are an inspiration to us all.

05-27-2011, 14:14

05-27-2011, 15:21
Noting looks as sexy as a woman and her gun...........;)

Big Teddy :munchin