Mackay Trophy

The Mackay Trophy is awarded yearly by the United States Air Force for the "most meritorious flight of the year" by an Air Force person, persons, or organization. The trophy is housed in the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum.[1] The award is administered by the U.S. National Aeronautic Association.

The Mackay Trophy on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

The award was established on 27 January 1911 by Clarence Mackay, who was then head of the Postal Telegraph-Cable Company and the Commercial Cable Company. Originally, aviators could compete for the trophy annually under rules made each year or the War Department could award the trophy for the most meritorious flight of the year.


The following is a list of awardees:[2]


Lieutenant Henry Harley Arnold"Most Meritorious Flight" during a reconnaissance competition flown over Virginia on 9 October 1912.
Second Lieutenant Joseph Eugene Carberry
Second Lieutenant Fred Seydel
Captain Townsend Foster Dodd
Lieutenant S. W. Fitzgerald
Lieutenant Byron Q. JonesDuration record of 8 hours 53 minutes.
Not Awarded
Not Awarded
Captain Eddie RickenbackerHighest scoring American ace of World War I; 26 air-to-air victories.
Lieutenant Colonel Harold Evans Hartney
Captain John Owen Donaldson
Captain Lowell Herbert Smith
Captain F. Steinle
Lieutenant Belvin N. Maynard
Lieutenant Alexander Pearson, Jr.
Lieutenant R. S. Northington
Lieutenant E. M. Manzelman
Lieutenant B. G. Bagby
Lieutenant D. B. Gish
For flights between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.


Captain St. Clair Streett
First Lieutenant Clifford C. Nutt
Second Lieutenant Erik H. Nelson
Second Lieutenant C. H. Crumrine
Second Lieutenant Ross C. Kirkpatrick
Sergeant Edmond Henriques
Sergeant Albert T. Vierra
Sergeant Joe E. English
For a flight from Mitchel Field, New York to Nome, Alaska and back.
Lieutenant John Arthur MacreadyWorld altitude record.
Lieutenant John Arthur Macready
Lieutenant Oakley George Kelly
World duration record.
Lieutenant John Arthur Macready
Lieutenant Oakley George Kelly
Non-stop transcontinental flight.
Captain Lowell Herbert Smith
First Lieutenant Leslie P. Arnold
First Lieutenant Leigh Wade
First Lieutenant Erik H. Nelson
Second Lieutenant Henry H. Ogden
First round-the-world flight.
Lieutenant James H. Doolittle
Lieutenant Cyrus K. Bettis
For winning the Schneider and Pulitzer Races.
Major Herbert A. Dargue
Captain Ira Clarence Eaker
Captain Arthur B. McDaniel
Captain C. F. Woolsey
First Lieutenant J. W. Benton
First Lieutenant Charles McK Robinson
First Lieutenant Muir Stephen Fairchild
First Lieutenant Bernard S. Thompson
First Lieutenant Leonard D. Weddingon
First Lieutenant Ennis Whitehead
Pan-American Good Will Flyers.
Lieutenant Albert Francis Hegenberger
Lieutenant Lester James Maitland
First transoceanic flight to Hawaii
Lieutenant Harry A. SuttonPerforming spin testing of observation aircraft.[4]
Captain A. W. StevenLong range aerial photography.


Major Ralph RoyceFor conducting an 'Arctic Patrol' round trip flight from Selfridge Field to Spokane, Washington, in January 1930. The flight provided valuable information about equipment and personnel operating in extreme cold weather.
Brigadier General Benjamin Delahauf FouloisCommanded the 1st Air Divisions (Provisional) through 40,000 flying hours with no loss of life or serious injury.
11th Bombardment Squadron
First Lieutenant Charles H. Howard
Relief missions to snowbound Navajo and Hopi.
Captain Westside T. LarsonFor his pioneering flights in connection with the development of methods and procedure of Aerial Frontier Defense.
Lieutenant Colonel Henry H. ArnoldCommanding officer of mass flight of 10 Martin B-10s from Bolling Field to Fairbanks, Alaska, and back.
Captain Albert William Stevens
Captain Orvil Arson Anderson
Flew balloon to 72,395—a then-record.
Captain Richard Emmel Nugent
First Lieutenant Joseph A. Miller
First Lieutenant Edwin G. Simenson
Second Lieutenant William P. Ragsdale, Jr.
Second Lieutenant Burton W. Armstrong
Second Lieutenant Herbert Morgan, Jr.
Tech Sergeant Gilbert W. Olson
Staff Sergeant Howard M. Miller
Corporal Air Mechanic 2/c Frank B. Connor
For demonstration of expert instrument flying and navigation, and the will to overcome obstacles to accomplish their mission under exceptionally adverse weather conditions during a flight of three B-10 s from Langley Field to Allegan, Michigan.
Captain Carl J. Crane
Captain George Vernon Holloman
For successful development and demonstration of an automatic landing system.
2d Bombardment Group
Lieutenant Colonel Robert Olds
For good will flight to Buenos Aires and return.
Major Caleb Vance Haynes
Major William D. Old
Captain John Alexander Samford
First Lieutenant Richard S. Freeman
First Lieutenant Torgils G. Wold
Tech Sergeant William J. Heldt
Tech Sergeant Henry L. Hines
Tech Sergeant David L. Spicer
Staff Sergeant Russell E. Junior
Staff Sergeant James E. Sands
Master Sergeant Adolph Cattarius
For flight of Boeing XB-15 from Langley Field to Chile on relief mission after 1939 Chillán earthquake.


Not Awarded
Not Awarded
Not Awarded
Not Awarded
Not Awarded
Not Awarded
Not Awarded
Captain Chuck YeagerFirst to break the sound barrier in the Bell X-1.
Lieutenant Colonel Emil BeadryFor the rescue of twelve marooned airmen from the Greenland ice sheet
Crew of Lucky Lady II
Captain James G. Gallagher
First non-stop aerial round-the-world flight.


27th Fighter WingFor moving 180 fighter jets across the Atlantic Ocean.
Colonel Fred AscaniFor breaking the world speed record at 635.686 mph at the National Air Races.
Major Louis H. Carrington, Jr.
Major Frederick W. Shook
Captain Wallace D. Yancey
First non-stop flight across the Pacific Ocean in a multi-engine jet bomber; a B-45 Tornado.
40th Air DivisionFor flying 25 F-84 Thunderjets non-stop from the United States to the United Kingdom and North Africa under adverse conditions.
308th Bombardment WingFor successfully completing a leap from intercontinental maneuver, a milestone in expanding and proving the combined operational capabilities of the B-47 Stratojet and in determining fatigue limits of combat crews.
Colonel Horace A. HanesBreaking the flight airspeed record at 822.1 mph in an F-100 Super Sabre at the National Air Show.
Captain Iven C. KincheloeBreaking the flight altitude record in a Bell X-2.[5]
93d Bombardment WingFor non-stop circumnavigation of the globe by three B-52 Stratofortresses.
Tactical Air Command's
Air Strike Force, X-Ray Tango
For its rapid and effective deployment to the troubled Far East during the fall of 1958.
U.S. Air Force ThunderbirdsFor goodwill tour of the Far East.


6593d Test SquadronFor its first aerial recovery of an object from space orbit.
Lieutenant Colonel William R. Payne
Major William L. Polthemus
Major Raymond R. Wagener
For their nonstop flight from Carswell Air Force Base to Paris, which culminated in the establishment of two international speed records.
Major Robert G. Sowers
Captain Robert MacDonald
Captain John T. Walton
For flight as members of a B-58 Hustler crew which established three transcontinental speed records.
Crew of C-47 "Extol Pink"
Captain Warren P. Tomsett
Captain John R. Ordemann
Captain Donald R. Mack
Tech Sergeant Edson P. Inlow
Staff Sergeant Jack E. Morgan
Staff Sergeant Frank C. Barrett
For the evacuation of wounded troops in Vietnam at night under enemy fire with a C-47 Skytrain.
464th Troop Carrier WingFor its participation in the humanitarian airlift of some 1,500 hostages and refugees from rebel held territory in the Republic of the Congo during November 1964.
Colonel Robert L. Stephens
Lieutnenat Colonel Daniel Andre
Lieutenant Colonel Walter F. Daniel
Major Noel T. Warner
Major James P. Cooney
For flight in the Lockheed YF-12, which culminated in the establishment of nine new world speed and altitude records.
Lieutenant Colonel Albert R. HowarthFor his exemplary courage and airmanship as a pilot in a combat strike mission in Southeast Asia under hazardous conditions of darkness and intense enemy fire.
Major John H. Casteel
Captain Dean L. Hoar
Captain Richard L. Trail
Master Sergeant Nathan C. Campbell
For performing the first multiple aerial refueling between a KC-135 Stratotanker and an A-3 Skywarrior which simultaneously refueled an F-8 Crusader under emergency fuel shortages and combat condition.
Lieutenant Colonel Daryl D. ColeFor gallantry as a C-130 Hercules pilot in the emergency evacuation of personnel in Vietnam.
49th Fighter WingFor a flawless deployment of 72 F-4 Phantom IIs from Spangdahlem Air Base to Holloman Air Force Base without a single abort, completing 504 successful air-to-air refuelings on the 5,000 mile trip.


Captain Alan D. Milacek
Captain James A. Russell
Captain Roger E. Clancy
Captain Ronald C. Jones
Captain Brent C. O'Brien
Tech Sergeant Albert A. Nash
Staff Sergeant Adolfo Lopez, Jr.
Staff Sergeant Ronald R. Wilson
Sergeant Kenneth E. Firestone
Airman First Class Donnell H. Cofer
Displaying great courage in returning their heavily damaged aircraft to their air base.
Lieutenant Colonel Thomas B. Estes
Major Dewain C. Vick
For their operation of an SR-71 Blackbird aircraft establishing new world records for duration and distance covered.
Captain Charles B. DeBellevue
Captain Jeffrey S. Feinstein
Captain R. Stephen Ritchie
For their extraordinary gallantry, superb airmanship, and intrepidity in the face of the enemy. (They were the three US Air Force "Aces" from the Vietnam War.)
Operation Homecoming
Military Airlift Command Aircrews
For their efforts to repatriate U.S. prisoners of war from Vietnam.
Major Roger J. Smith
Major David W. Peterson
Major Willard R. MacFarlane
For participating in F-15 advanced fight test during which time eight world class time-to-climb records were established.
Major Robert W. UndorfFor gallantry and resourcefulness during the joint military operation to rescue and insure the return of the SS Mayagüez crew from an opposing armed force on Koh Tang in the Gulf of Thailand.
Captain James A. YuleFor gallantry and unusual presence of mind while participating in a flight as an instructor pilot of a B-52D Stratofortress.

Captain James A Yule, distinguished himself by gallantry and unusual presence of mind while participating in an aerial flight as an instructor pilot of a B-52D aircraft on 19 May 1976. Captain Yule's flight developed a unique multiple emergency and he assumed command of the aircraft, and at great personal risk, checked out the hydraulic open wheel well area to detect the problem. Using initiative, he coordinated with ground agencies and crew members and determined that a safe landing could be made after loss of braking and complete failure of steering. Captain Yule's professional competence and outstanding airmanship under extreme stress resulted in successful recovery of the crew and a valuable aircraft. His courageous acts in landing a malfunctioning aircraft reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Captain David M. Sprinkel
Crew of C-5 Mission AAM 1962-01
Airman First Class John M. Thompson
The aircrew, composed of members from the 436th Military Airlift Wing and the 512th Military Airlift Wing, airlifted a large superconducting electromagnet, support equipment, and personnel in support of joint U.S.-U.S.S.R. energy research program.
3d Military Airlift Squadron Crew
Lieutenant Colonel Robert F. Schultz
Lieutenant Colonel Daniel W. Pruitt
Major John K. Roberts
Captain Herbert H. Schaunaman, Jr.
Captain John A. Messerly
Tech Sergeant Owen L. Conlin
Tech Sergeant Joe L. Dickey
Staff Sergeant Raymond D. Stebleton
Sergeant John E. Legere
Sergeant David A. Kreyssig
Senior Airman William W. Tepper
Senior Airman Christopher A. Heitkamp
Airman First Class Danny F. Jennings

9th Military Airlift Squadron Crew
Major Jon S. Hillhouse
Captain Todd H. Hohberger
Captain Michael R. Smith
Captain John P. Foley, Jr.
Captain Douglas K. Kronemeyer
Captain Michael A. Wright
Master Sergeant Charles E. Harper
Tech Sergeant Fred A. Booth, Jr.
Tech Sergeant Joseph J. Clay
Staff Sergeant David B. Pierson
Airman First Class Thomas F. O’Brien
Airman First Class Mark S. Homan
Two C-5 Galaxy aircrews from the 436th Military Airlift Wing conducted the first C-5 airlift mission in support of the free world effort against rebel forces in Zaire.
Major James E. McArdle, Jr.For exceptional aerial skill in rescuing 28 Taiwanese seamen from a sinking cargo ship.


Crews S-21 and S-31
644th Bombardment Squadron
Maj William Thurston III
Maj John Durham
Maj William Manley
Capt Wayne Hesser
Capt Corrie Kundert
Capt Steven Nunn
Capt Charles Schencke
Capt Richard Zimmerman
Capt Brent Bunch
Capt Thomas Clark
Capt Michael McConnell
Capt James McLauchlin
TSgt Samuel Carmona
Sra Stephen McGinness
For executing a 43-hour non-stop, around-the world mission with the immediate objective of locating and photographing elements of the Soviet Navy operating in the Persian Gulf. Objectives for this flight were to prove to the Soviet Union that the aging B-52 could still perform its global mission as part of the US nuclear Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP). Another objective was to apply pressure to the Iranian government. The year before Iranian revolutionaries stormed the US Embassy taking 52 US diplomats and citizens hostage. The Iranian hostage crisis ultimately lasted for 444 days. As mentioned, a third objective was to use the long endurance flight capabilities of the B-52 to perform sea surveillance of foreign military forces.
Captain John J. WaltersFor participating in aerial flight as HH-3 Jolly Green Giant Commander in the rescue of 61 individuals, despite adverse conditions, from the burning cruise ship MS Prinsendam.
Crew E-21
Captain Ronald L. Cavendish
Captain Ronald D. Nass
First Lieutenant James D. Gray
First Lieutenant Michael J. Connor
First Lieutenant Gerald E. Valentini
Second Lieutenant Frank A. Boyle
Tech Sergeant Ronald B. Wright
For successfully landing their crippled B-52 Stratofortress, under almost impossible conditions, thereby saving their lives and the aircraft.
Crew E-113
Captain Robert J. Goodman
Captain Michael F. Clover
Captain Karol F. Wojcikowski
Staff Sergeant Douglas D. Simmons
On 5 September 1983, the KC-135 Stratotanker crew saved an F-4 Phantom and its crew over the Atlantic. The KC-135 refueled the F-4 four times and towed it with the refueling boom.
Lieutenant Colonel James L. Hobson, Jr.For actions as aircraft commander of the lead MC-130E Combat Talon I during the Grenada rescue mission.
Lieutenant Colonel David E. FaughtFor heroism and outstanding airmanship in saving the lives of eight crewmembers and preventing the loss of an irreplaceable aircraft.
Captain Marc D. Felman
Captain Thomas M. Ferguson
Master Sergeant Clarence Bridges, Jr.
Master Sergeant Patrick S. Kennedy
Master Sergeant Gerald G. Treadwell
Tech Sergeant Lester G. Bouler
Tech Sergeant Gerald M. Lewis
Staff Sergeant Samuel S. Flores
Staff Sergeant Scott A. Helms
Staff Sergeant Gary L. Smith
Following a precipitous and hazardous launch in near zero-visibility weather conditions, the crew of a KC-10 Extender from the 68th Air Refueling Wing provided emergency refueling to a KC-10 and three A-4 Skyhawk over the Atlantic Ocean on 5 March 1986.
Detachment 15,
Air Force Plant Representative Office
and B-1B System Program Office
Captain Michael Eastman
Captain James Runk
Captain Kelly Scott
Senior Master Sergeant Arthur Vogt
Master Sergeant Robert Downs
Master Sergeant Charles Finnegan
Master Sergeant William Tobler
Master Sergeant James Maurer
Technical Sergeant William Nunn Jr.
Sergeant Andrew Benucci, Jr.
Staff Sergeant Timothy Hahn
Senior Airman Thomas Siler
For commanding C-5 Galaxy crew assigned to the 436th Military Airlift Wing. The aircraft and crew flew the first of the missions carrying equipment used to monitor nuclear testing to the Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan for joint verification experiments.
Lieutenant Colonel Joseph G. Day
Captain Jeffrey K. Beene
Captain Vernon B. Benton
Captain Robert H. Hendricks
For successfully conducting the first-ever gear-up emergency landing of a B-1 Lancer aircraft.


Crew of AC-130H Spectre
Mission #1J1600GA354
16th Special Operations Squadron
For airmanship and outstanding professionalism of the crew during aerial flight over Panama during Operation Just Cause.
Crew of Moccasin-05
Captain Tom Trask
Major Mike Homan
Master Sergeant Timothy Hadrych
Tech Sergeant Gregory Vanhyning
Tech Sergeant James A. Peterson, Jr.
Staff Sergeant Craig Dock
Sergeant Thomas Bedard
For extraordinary heroism and self-sacrifice of the crew during the rescue of the pilot of Slate 46, a downed U.S. Navy F-14 Tomcat in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm.
310th Airlift Squadron crew
Major Christopher J. Duncan
Captain Peter B. Eunice
Captain Daniel G. Sobel
Captain Robert K. Stich
Master Sergeant Joseph C. Beard, Jr.
Master Sergeant Carl V. Wilson
Tech Sergeant John H. Armintrout
Tech Sergeant Charles G. Bolden
Tech Sergeant Rory E. Calhoun
Tech Sergeant Ray A. Fisher
Tech Sergeant Peter J. Paquette
Tech Sergeant Andrew W. Toth
Tech Sergeant Darren R. Tresler
Staff Sergeant Ronald P. Hetzel
For extraordinary resourcefulness and unusual presence of mind during an unprovoked attack in international airspace.
Crew E-21
Major Peter B. Mapes
Captain Jeffrey R. Swegel
Captain Joseph D. Rosmarin
Captain Charles W. Patnaude
Lieutenant Glen J. Caneel
For quick thinking, immediate reaction, and astute situational awareness enabling them to return a crippled B-52 Stratofortress to stable flight and safe landing.
Crew of Air Force Rescue 206
Captain John W. Blumentritt
Captain Gary W. Henderson
Staff Sergeant Matthew A. Wells
Senior Airman Jeffrey M. Frembling
Senior Airman Jesse W. Goerz

Crew of Air Force Rescue 208
Lieutenant Colonel James A. Sills
Lieutenant Colonel Gary L. Copsey
Lieutenant Richard E. Assaf
Tech Sergeant Gregory M. Reed
Senior Airman William R. Payne
For extraordinary heroism and self-sacrifice during the rescue of six Icelanders sailors who were stranded when their ship foundered in heavy seas and strong winds.
Crew of BAT-01
Lieutenant Colonel Doug Raaberg
Captain Gerald Goodfellow
Captain Kevin Clotfelter
Captain Rick Carver
Captain Chris Stewart
Captain Steve Adams
Captain Kevin Houdek
Captain Steve Reeves
For the aerial achievement demonstrating the B-1 Lancer capability with live bombing activity over three bombing ranges on three continents in two hemispheres.
Duke 01 Flight CrewFor performing the first combat employment of the B-52H Stratofortress in history.
Crew of Whiskey-05
MC-130H Combat Talon II
Lieutenant Colonel Frank J. Kisner
Major (Dr.) Robert S. Michaelson
Captain John C. Baker
Captain Reed Foster
Captain Mark J. Ramsey
Captain Robert P. Toth
Master Sergeant Gordon H. Scott
Tech Sergeant Tom L. Baker
Staff Sergeant John D. Hensdill
Staff Sergeant Jeffrey A. Hoyt
For overcoming hostile gunfire, three heavyweight air refuelings, and over 13 hours flying3,179 nautical miles (5,888 km) to their objective to insert a European survey and assessment team and extract 56 people from the escalating Republic of the Congo Civil War, achieving this goal while on the ground for less than 23 minutes.
Crew of Air Force Rescue 470For making a mountaintop rescue of six survivors trapped inside an airplane which had crashed on a glacier during a near-zero visibility approach in winds gusting to 45 knots.
Captain Jeffrey G. J. HwangIn recognition of an exceptionally meritorious F-15C Eagle flight during combat operations in support of Operation Allied Force when he simultaneously destroyed two enemy aircraft during a single intercept.


E10E1 Mission
Lieutenant Colonel Marlon Nailling
Major John Andrus
Major Kathryn Drake
Major David Sellars
Captain Richard Hunt
Captain Kevin Keith
Captain Karey Dufour
Captain Karin Petersen
Captain Donna Fournier
First Lieutenant Lucas Jobe
Staff Sergeant Edward Franceschina
Staff Sergeant Heather Robertson
Staff Sergeant Bradley Atherton
Staff Sergeant Ryan Reller
Staff Sergeant Brian Hoffmeyer
Senior Airman Chad Schusko

E10E2 Mission
Colonel Byron Hepburn
Lieutenant Colonel Linda Torrens
Major Jonas Allman
Major Thomas Jenkins
Major Lola Casby
Major Jeffrey Davis
Captain Raymond Chehy
Captain Natalie Sykes
Captain Michael Smith
Captain Tim Carter
First Lieutenant Jennifer Bagozzi
Staff Sergeant Alan Wooldridge
Staff Sergeant Kelly Pollard
Staff Sergeant Trent Arnold
Staff Sergeant Juan Garza
Senior Airman Anna Duffner

Critical Care Air Transport Team
Colonel David Welling
Major Stephan A. Alkins
Captain Raymond M. Nudo
Captain Andrew J. Reynolds
Captain Bernd T. Wegner
Staff Sergeant Chyrise M. Jenkins
Staff Sergeant Christopher E. Whited
For performing heroic rescue efforts in record time for victims of the USS Cole attack during the 6,000 mile round-trip journey between Aden, Yemen, Djibouti, and Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Aircrew members launched two rescue C-9 Nightingale crews within one hour of alert.
20th Special Operations Squadron
First Lieutenant Mike Holder
Capt Jay Humphrey
Staff Sergeant Vince Depersio
Staff Sergeant Chad Ackman
Staff Sergeant Mark Wolcott
Staff Sergeant Al Aguinaldo
Staff Sergeant Paul Orse
Staff Sergeant Bill Adams
Senior Airman Jason Andrews
The crew of Knife 04, an MH-53M Pave Low helicopter, distinguished themselves by extraordinary acts of valor and heroism during the rescue of their sister ship's crew on 02 Nov 01. On that date Knife 04 was chalk two on a short notice tasking for an urgent personnel recovery mission behind enemy lines. Due to severe weather along the route and a radar malfunction in the lead aircraft, Knife 04 assumed lead in an attempt to get the formation clear of the weather. While flying through the blinding weather, the two aircraft lost sight of one another. As Knife 04 tried to relocate their wingman, they lost radio contact. Contacting airborne command and control assets, Knife 04 confirmed that the other aircraft was on the ground. Several attempts to reach the downed crewmembers that had sustained injuries and were now exposed to subzero temperatures and enemy ground forces were unsuccessful. Knife 04 began coordinating the first of four aerial refuelings and initiated on scene command responsibilities while evading bad weather and taking enemy ground fire. As the weather cleared, Knife 04 located the crash site and began an approach to the rugged area. The extremely slim power margin forced them to dump all but the very minimum fuel required for the approach. After a perilous landing, the downed aircrew were brought aboard. The takeoff in blinding snow with rotor speed decreasing to dangerous levels was accomplished through superior effort and ability from the crew. During the egress from hostile territory, Knife 04 was forced to aerially refuel several times as the minimum power margin prohibited their loading all of the required fuel in one engagement.
16th Special Operations Squadron
For rescuing 82 U.S. Army soldiers, including 28 wounded, trapped in a rugged valley in Afghanistan by Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces. The 14-man crew of an Air Force AC-130H Spectre gunship engaged the enemy from overhead during a two-hour, night-time operation that permitted two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters to land and pick up the battered troops.
Crew of Vijay 10
Lieutenant Colonel Shane Hershman
Major Bob Colvin
First Lieutenant Matt Clausen
Master Sergeant Shawn Brumfield
Master Sergeant Chris Dockery
Vijay 10 was the lead C-17 Globemaster III in a formation of C-17s from the 62d and 446th Airlift Wings, McChord Air Force Base, Washington. Vijay 10's crew led the largest combat airdrop since World War II. On 26 March 2003, Vijay 10 led Operation Northern Delay with an airdrop of 1,000 members of the US Army 173rd Airborne Brigade soldiers over Bashur, Iraq which opened the northern front to combat operations. After the initial insertion, Vijay 10 crewmembers, along with active and reserve crews from Charleston and McChord Air Force Bases flew four more night missions.
Crew of Jolly 11
First Lieutenant Bryan Creel
Captain Joseph Galletti
Staff Sergeant Vincent J. Eckert
Staff Sergeant John Griffin
Staff Sergeant Patrick Ledbetter
Sergeant Thomas Ringheimer

Crew of Jolly 12
Captain Rob Wrinkle
First Lieutenant Gregory Rockwood
Tech Sergeant Michael Preston
Tech Sergeant Paul Silver
Staff Sergeant Matthew Leigh
Staff Sergeant Michael Rubio
Senior Airman Edward Ha
Jolly 11 and Jolly 12 crewmembers distinguished themselves by gallantry in connection with rescue operations near Kharbut, Iraq, on 16 April 2004. While supporting of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Jolly 11 Flight launched to rescue a five-person crew of a U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook that crashed in a sandstorm with near zero-visibility. En route to the crash scene, crews realized their forward looking infra-red and night vision goggles were ineffective. Despite this handicap the crew of Jolly 11 was able to locate the survivors. Both aircraft then made near zero-visibility approaches relying nearly exclusively on the flight engineers and aerial gunners inputs for precision navigation. Following the successful survivor contacts and recovery by the Flight's Pararescuemen, Jolly 11 and Jolly 12 were individually engaged by separate multiple surface-to-air missiles attacks. Using evasive maneuvers Jolly 11 evaded two missiles. Both Jolly 11 and Jolly 12 continued to provide support with defensive fire until the formation was clear of the threat area saving the lives of five U.S. Army personnel.
Crew of Train 60
Major Michael S. Frame
Major Brian Lewis
Master Sergeant Tommy Lee
Master Sergeant John Spillane
Tech Sergeant Corey Turner
Train 60 crewmembers were C-130 Hercules instructors for the newly formed Iraqi Air Force. The crew's unprecedented mission was to act as the inaugural Iraqi "Air Force One" and take the Iraq Prime Minister from Baghdad to Al Sulaymania to meet with Kurdish leaders. During the mission, Train 60 crewmembers instructed Iraqi aircrew members on flight procedures in a combat environment, quickly improvised a low-level route through mountains to avoid low ceilings and landed on a taxi way at an uncontrolled and uncompleted Iraqi airfield that did not have an American security presence. Their efforts ensured the safety of the all Iraqi crew and the Iraqi head of state during this landmark airlift event.
Captain Scott Markle A-10 pilot Captain Markle was diverted to support special forces troops along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in contact with Taliban forces. He arrived just before dawn and heavy gunfire and tracers and poor visibility made it difficult to find the team's location. Captain Markle, unable to employ weapons due to the enemy's close proximity to the team, flew a dangerously low pass over the area while releasing self-protection flares. When flares momentarily halted enemy fire. The ground controller requested a few more close passes to the special forces team time to create more distance between themselves and the Taliban. The separation allowed Captain Markle to strafe the enemy area with more than 1,000 30 millimeter rounds on his final pass. The special forces team was able to disengage with no casualties. Captain Markle was credited with destroying three machine gun nests and killing 40 enemy combatants.
Panther 11 Flight
Colonel Charles Moore
Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Williams
Captain Lawrence Sullivan
Captain Kristopher Struve
A 4-ship formation of F-16 Fighting Falcons based at Joint Base Balad, Iraq flew an 11-hour mission over 6 countries and requiring 13 air refuelings supported ground operations in the Tora Bora region of Afghanistan
Crew of Bone 23
Major Norman Shelton
Captain Kaylene Giri
Captain Louis Heidema
Captain Boyd Smith
Confronting a two hundred-strong enemy force that was attempting to overrun their base, the Joint Terminal Attack Controller requested a two thousand pound guided weapon. When the crew of BONE 23 realized friendly forces were in Danger Close range, they suggested a five hundred pound guided weapon, instead. Faced with a critical fuel situation, the crew coordinated to move their tanker closer providing more time on station and, within thirty minutes, BONE 23 accomplished three bomb runs decisively slowing the enemy attack, allowing coalition forces to regroup.
Crew of Pedro 16
Captain Robert Rosebrough
First Lieutenant Lucas Will
Master Sergeant Dustin Thomas
Staff Sergeant Tim Philpott
The crews of "Pedro 15" and "Pedro 16" operating HH-60G Pavehawks came under enemy fire 29 July 2009 during a medical evacuation mission as part of the 129th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron at Kandahar Air Base, Afghanistan. Three Soldiers had been wounded near Forward Operating Base Frontenac when their convoy was hit with an improvised explosive device and became engaged by enemy combatants. During the recovery operation "Pedro 15" was downed by enemy fire, injuring the crew. "Pedro 16", along with Army OH-58 Kiowas, suppressed enemy fire. Captain Rosebrough developed a plan to evacuate all the wounded personnel aboard "Pedro 16" and two Kiowa helicopters. Their efforts ensured the recovery of the six "Pedro 15" crew members and three wounded soldiers.


Dude Flight
Lieutenant Colonel Donald D. Cornwell
Lieutenant Colonel Dylan T. Wells
Captain Leigh P. Larkin
First Lieutenant Nicholas R. Tsougas
While operating as a flight of two F-15E Strike Eagles - call signs Dude 01 and Dude 02 - they were tasked to support a Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force team surrounded by over 100 enemy fighters in the town of Bala Morgab, Afghanistan. With weather below rescue force launch minimums, Dude flight used terrain-following radar to execute five "Show of Force" passes in a valley surrounded by high terrain. When hostilities escalated, Dude Flight expertly employed six Joint Direct Attack Munitions, helping kill over 80 Taliban fighters who occupied reinforced positions within the town. Their efforts helped save the lives of approximately 30 coalition troops. There were no civilian casualties.
Crews of Pedro 83 Flight
Crew Members of Pedro 83
Captain Joshua Hallada (Flight Lead)
First Lieutenant Elliott Milliken (Co-Pilot)
Senior Airman Michael Price (Flight Engineer)
Senior Airman Justin Tite (Aerial Gunner)
Crew Members of Pedro 84
Major Philip Bryant (Mission Pilot)
Captain Louis Nolting
Technical Sergeant James Davis
Technical Sergeant Heath Culbertson
Technical Sergeant William Gonzalez
Crew Members of Guardian Angel Team
Major Jesse Peterson (Guardian Angel Team Commander)
First Lieutenant Aaron Hunter (Combat Rescue Officer)
Master Sergeant Matthew Schrader (Pararescueman)
Technical Sergeant Joshua Vanderbrink
Technical Sergeant Christopher Uriarte
Technical Sergeant Shane Hargis
Staff Sergeant Jason Ruiz
Staff Sergeant Angel Santana
Staff Sergeant Nathan Greene
Staff Sergeant Zachary Kline
Staff Sergeant William Cenna
The Crews of Pedro 83 Flight, who distinguished themselves in combat search and rescue operations on April 23, 2011 while assigned to the 83rd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron, Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan.
HH-60 Crews of Pedro 83 and Pedro 84
Captain Vincent B. Powell
Captain Thomas R. Stengl
Captain Brion P. Stroud
First Lieutenant Paul A. Fry
Chief Master Sergeant Norman S. Callahan
Technical Sergeant John G. Ballard
Staff Sergeant Lucas G. Ferrari
Staff Sergeant Mahonri R. Gibson
Staff Sergeant Thomas A. Hervert
Technical Sergeant Cameron J. Hystad
Staff Sergeant William A. Mathis
Senior Airman Brian D. Ayers
Senior Airman Jordan J. Dehlbom
The members and crew of Pedro 83 Flight distinguished themselves an Air Force Combat search and rescue aircrew from November 1, 2011 to February 8, 2012. In January 2012, Pedro 83 Flight, launched in response to a MEDEVAC call near Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan. The flight navigated through low visibility to reach the patient. Upon arrival, Pedro 84 executed a hoist over hostile terrain to infiltrate Pararescuemen and provide life-saving care to the wounded soldier. The actions of Pedro 83 Flight saved the patient's life while providing direct support to the ongoing assault operations.[16]
Crews of Rooster 73 Flight

Crew Members of Rooster 73
Major Ryan P. Mittelstet
Captain Brett J. Cassidy
Technical Sergeant David A. Shea
Staff Sergeant Christopher Nin
Crew Members of Rooster 74
Captain William J. Mendel
Captain Arjun U. Rau
Staff Sergeant James M. McKay
Staff Sergeant Kenneth E. Zupkow II
Crew Members of Rooster 75
Major B. Taylor Fingarson
Captain Daniel J. Denney
Master Sergeant Alberto L. Delgado
Master Sergeant Jeremy D. Hoye
Technical Sergeant Daniel Warren
Technical Sergeant Jason Broline
Senior Airman Lee Von Hackprestinary[17]

The crews of Rooster 73 flight distinguished themselves as CV-22 Pilots and Flight Engineers with the 8th Expeditionary Special Operations Squadron, on December 21, 2013 while in support of Noncombatant Evacuation Operations in the vicinity of Bor, South Sudan. On approach to land, the flight took heavy surface-to-air fire, resulting in damage to multiple aircraft systems. The damage caused multiple fuel leaks requiring emergency airborne refueling to allow for the safe return of all three battle damaged aircraft, crew, and passengers.

Damage to the aircraft required crew members to manually extend refueling probes and activate emergency aerial refueling valves to enable multiple refueling tracks to take on enough fuel to reach Entebbe. Time critical decision making, outstanding airmanship, and extraordinary crew resource management allowed the members of Rooster 73 Flight to save 34 aircrew and three $89 million aircraft.[18]


Captain Gregory R. Balzhiser
Captain David A. Kroontje

The aircrew of the Pacific Air Forces` Ironhand 41 flight, orchestrated four flawless attacks during an eight-hour night, flying F-16Cs over 500 miles in enemy-controlled terrain. Their attacks destroyed three Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) blockades, multiple armored vehicles, one observation post, and killed ISIL fighters who were firing upon 40,000 trapped Yazidi civilians who had fled to Mount Sinjar. Their outstanding battle management caused the cessation of ISIL indirect fires on civilians, ended ISIL freedom of movement around Mount Sinjar, facilitated the evacuation corridor by reducing pressure on Peshmerga ground forces, and ultimately saved the lives of 40,000 civilians including women, children, elderly, and the infirm.

Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Cohen
Major Seth Taylor
Captain Danielle Kangas
Captain Mathew Park

On July 26, 2015, United States Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Cohen, Major Seth Taylor, Captain Danielle Kangas, and Captain Mathew Park, arrived on scene over Hassekah, a major city in northeast Syria, where friendly Syrian Kurdish ground units were battling the last significant holdout of a group of Islamic State enemy personnel. A firefight in the southeast portion of the city had erupted, pinning Kurdish ground units in a dense urban city block. Overcoming targeting complicated by weather and limited communications, Lieutenant Colonel Cohen and Major Taylor expertly coordinated and employed several successful munitions in support of Kurdish forces despite highly restrictive attack parameters. Captain Kangas and Captain Park tracked and executed an effective attack on fleeing enemy soldiers wearing blankets to reduce their infrared signature. In a four-hour period, the crews of WEASEL 41 and WEASEL 51 flight employed 15 precision guided munitions, destroying eight enemy fighting positions, with no friendly or civilian casualties. This marked the end of a three-month operation in Northern Syria that resulted in friendly Kurdish forces retaking over 17 thousand square kilometers of territory, securing the Syria/Turkey border between Iraq and the Euphrates River.

Major Alexander Hill
Major Aaron Hall
Captain Garrett Robinson
1st Lt. Zachary Hanley
1st Lt. Marshall Shefler
Staff Sgt. William Cody
Staff Sgt. Freddie Coffee
Staff Sgt. Cody Flora
Staff Sgt. David Kerns Jr.
Staff Sgt. Timothy Lewis
Staff Sgt. Alexander Skidgel
Senior Airman Kellen Lloyd
Senior Airman Jonathan Russell
Airman 1st Class Raymond Bourne

On November 2, 2016, the crew of SPOOKY 43 was tasked to provide close air support and armed reconnaissance for a 55-man combined American and Afghan special operations team conducting a raid to interdict insurgent command and control nodes, senior leadership, and their networks. After the crew of SPOOKY 43 arrived overhead, the combined American and Afghan special operations force (also referred to as “friendlies”) was caught in a deadly ambush by a large insurgent force. The friendlies were engaged by small arms, heavy machine gun, and grenade fire from multiple defensive fighting positions. The crew of SPOOKY 43 provided close air support to the friendly ground force with the 25, 40, and 105-millimeter guns, to allow them the freedom to maneuver and provide care for casualties. In order to protect the ground team from enemy personnel, the crew of SPOOKY 43 expertly employed the 105-millimeter gun at an unprecedented 12 meters from the friendly personnel. Due to the outstanding airmanship and bravery under extremely challenging circumstances, SPOOKY 43 destroyed 10 defensive fighting positions, 27 enemy insurgents, and three enemy technical vehicles, saving the lives of 50 combined American and Afghan special operations forces personnel who would have otherwise perished in the enemy ambush. The professional ability and outstanding aerial accomplishments of the crew of SPOOKY 43 reflect credit upon themselves and the United States Air Force.
The Crew of Boar 51 Flight

Major Schultz
Captain Harvey

On May 2, 2017, the crew of Boar 51 was re-tasked to support a troops-in-contact situation where 50 American and countless Syrian Democratic Forces were pinned down with heavy machine gun fire, mortars, and rocket-propelled grenades. Boar 51 flight expended 1,500 pounds of ordnance and 1,300, 30-millimeter rounds on 19 targets, often inside danger close criteria. For over five hours, Captain Harvey and Major Schultz overcame communications degradation, severe thunderstorms and near-zero visibility, ultimately saving the lives of friendly forces. The distinctive accomplishments of Captain Harvey and Major Schultz reflect great credit upon themselves and the United States Air Force.
2018[20] The Crew of DRACO 42 Flight

Major Caitlin Reilly

Captain Samantha Lang

Captain Patrick Perez

Senior Airmen Kyle Hanson

The crew of Draco 42 distinguished themselves as a U-28A crew, 319th Special Operations Squadron, Combined Joint Special Operations Air Component-Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel while serving as the Tactical Air Controller-Airborne for a joint, interagency, time-sensitive mission on August 14, 2018. Despite multiple rounds of indirect fire impacting near the aircraft at their forward refueling location, Draco 42 continued to coordinate rapidly evolving target and concept of operation changes with geographically separated air and ground assets. Once airborne, Draco 42 managed the highly complex operation of simultaneous helicopter infiltrations to time-sensitive targets in urban areas that yielded valuable intelligence on a top-level Al Qaeda leader and four enemy killed in action. The professional ability and outstanding aerial accomplishments of the crew of Draco 42 reflect great credit upon themselves and the United States Air Force.

See also


  1. Smithsonian Mackay Trophy Page Archived 2006-09-01 at the Wayback Machine
  2. NAA list of Mackay Trophy Winners Archived 2007-02-28 at the Wayback Machine
  3. "Aviation Honors Awarded at Banquet". Buffalo Evening News. Buffalo, New York. January 15, 1915. p. 4 via
  4. "AERONAUTICS: Mackay Trophy". Time magazine. 1928. Retrieved 2011-05-26. Clarence Hungerford Mackay, now inactive telegraph, telephone, wireless and radio capitalist, knowing well that the subordinate workers of vast organizations rarely get public praise, established the Clarence H. Mackay Trophy to be given to the Army pilot who performs the most meritorious flight service of any one year. During recent months Secretary of War James William Good has been scanning the 1928 records of Army men. Last week he decided to award the trophy to Lieut. Harry A. Sutton of the Army Air Corps Reserve, who with "quiet bravery, intelligence, skill and spirit" tested out the spinning characteristics of several dangerous types of planes.
  5. "Mackay Trophy". The Air Power Historian. 4 (3): 173. 1957. JSTOR 44512998.
  6. Bayly, Julia (21 July 2013). "Fort Kent brothers recall years spent keeping planes flying at Loring". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  7. "Mackay 1980-1989 Recipients". National Aeronautic Association. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  8. White, J. Terry. "Remarkable Airmanship". J. Terry White. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  9. Combat Talon II crew receives Mackay Trophy
  10. C-130 Crew Honored with Mackay Trophy
  11. A-10 pilot awarded Mackay Trophy
  12. F-16 Pilots receive Mackay Trophy
  13. B-1B crew to get Mackay Trophy for bombing run
  14. 33d Rescue Squadron crew earns MacKay Trophy US Air Force, 20 May 2010, retrieved 20 May 2010
  15. "Mackay 2010-2019 Recipients". National Aeronautic Association. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  16. Bosco, Cassandro. "The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) will present the 2012 Mackay Trophy to the members of the Crew of PEDRO 83 Flight" (PDF). National Aeronautic Association. Retrieved 18 June 2015.
  17. "Mackay 2010-2019 Recipients". National Aeronautic Association. 8 December 2020. Archived from the original on 8 December 2020.
  18. Feather, Melodie. "United States Air Force Crews of Rooster 73 Flight Awarded the Mackay Trophy for 2013" (PDF). Retrieved 18 June 2015.
  19. Stevens, Kim (30 August 2018). "USAF Crew of Boar 51 Flight to Receive 2017 Mackay Trophy". State Aviation Journal. Raleigh, North Carolina. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  20. "Mackay 2010-2019 Recipients - NAA: National Aeronautic Association". Retrieved 2020-09-11.


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