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Mackay 2020-2029 Recipients

2020 (press release)
As outlined in the United States Air Force nomination, the crew of Hawg 53 were deployed from their home station of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, as a two-ship formation of A-10Cs, flying out of the 455th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, 451st Air Expeditionary Group, Kandahar Air Base, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.  On January 5, 2020, Lieutenant Colonel Bier and Lieutenant Colonel Nordhagen were tasked to support a troops in contact situation where the Afghan Combat Outpost was under heavy attack from Taliban forces.  As the only airborne response available in Afghanistan, Hawg 53 battled significant weather, mountainous terrain, dislocated controllers, and a determined enemy to halt the attack and save the outpost from being overrun, ultimately saving the lives of 30 Afghan soldiers.  The professional ability and outstanding aerial accomplishments of the crew of Hawg 53 reflect great credit upon themselves and the United States Air Force.