BERLIN – A U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk pilot and a flight medic received an award during the opening day of the Berlin Air Show, Sept. 11, for their heroic efforts that saved 12 German army soldiers.
The two soldiers were presented an award from the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation by Robert Kokorda, Sikorsky Sales and Marketing vice president.
Philip Murphy, U.S. Ambassador to Germany, Gen. Philip Breedlove, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and U.S. Air Forces Africa commander, and Sergei Sikorsky, son of aerospace pioneer and Sikorsky Aircraft founder Igor Sikorsky were present for the event.
Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jason Lacrosse, UH-60 Black Hawk pilot, with the Joint Multinational Readiness Center Falcons, Hohenfels, Germany, and Army Sgt. Antonio Gattis, flight medic, with Charlie Company 1-214 Aviation Regiment, Landstuhl, Germany, both recall the experience of being presented the award.
“To have the company give me an award, as a black hawk pilot, I got teary eyed,” Lacrosse, a Waldoboro, Maine, native said. “I was just a soldier doing my job.”
“It was a huge honor to receive the award,” Gattis a Salisbury, Md., native said. “It was overwhelming.”
Three of the German soldiers that were rescued and a member of the Joint Tactical Air Command from April 2 attended the award presentation.
German army Feldwebel, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. equivalent, Patrick Bonneik, JTAC, expressed his admiration to the American soldiers who rescued his comrades.
“It’s an honor to see their heart, dedication and perfect service,” Bonneik said. He went on to say that it was great to see them recognized by the aircraft industry.
It has been more than two years since the mission and the bonds between the soldiers are still strong.
“Every time I see them again, it’s like we are old friends,” Gattis said.