The Air Force special tactics officer is credited with saving many Afghan and US soldiers’ lives during that pitched 12 hour battle for control of an Afghan village, surrounding high elevations and denying the Taliban unchallenged access. He described the Afghan commandos that were the preponderance of the allied fighting force that day as “ferocious fighters”.
|Capt. Barry Crawford,|
Air Force special tactics officer
He had high regard for the aircrews that flew that day. The AH-64s that put ordnance down all day long for his team (90 rockets, 30,000 rounds of gun ammo); the HH-60Gs that flew into a “hot” landing zone to recover the wounded and received 10 bullet holes to remember the day; and the fixed wing aircraft that continued to provide coverage as the weather got better during the day. Twelve hours that must have seemed like an eternity!
Special tactics training for men like Captain Crawford is three years long. Three years of physical training, technical knowledge, mental toughness, the ability to work under stress and much more! Crawford spoke about his experiences and explained how non commissioned officers gave him the training and technical expertise to survive and excel in combat. He said, the NCOs lessons included “never quit”, “always be ready” and “here to learn …”. He praised another special tactics member and Air Force Cross recipient, TSgt Robert “Gut” Gutierrez who the DoD Blogger Roundtable had interviewed last fall as an example of the special tactics NCOs. I know these types of guys: quiet, tough professionals. I even flew with some of them during my Air Force career; I also flew one of the aircraft that was on station that day!
Best wishes to Captain Crawford as he continues his career with the Maryland Air National Guard and attends pilot training in order to fly the A-10C. A well deserved honor has been bestowed on yet another American hero!
If you would like to listen to an audio of this very interesting DoD Blogger Roundtable please go to DoDLive. Mr. William Selby of DoDLive did an exceptional job of arranging and moderating the roundtable. Thank you William!
Photo Credit: DoDLive, US Air Force