Mackay Trophy Honors B-1 Crew
On July 31, 2008, a B-1 crew's actions in support of ground forces in Afghanistan distinguished them for "one of the most important awards in the United States Air Force," according to the National Aeronautic Association. The crew of BONE 23, 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, was contacted to support troops who were facing an attempted overrun of their base by a force of 200 enemy combatants. The specific request came from the Joint Terminal Attack Controller for delivery of a 2000-pound guided weapon to a location where friendly forces were in Danger Close range. The B-1 crew responded by suggesting they instead deliver a 500-pound guided weapon and, facing a critical fuel situation, coordinated with their tanker to provide more time on station. Within 30 minutes, the BONE 23 crew, including Major Norman Shelton, Captain Kaylene Giri, Captain Louis Heidema, and First Lieutenant Boyd Smith, had made three bomb runs, "decisively slowing the enemy attack" according to the NAA, and allowing for coalition ground forces to regroup.
Administered by the United States Air Force and the National Aeronautic Association, the Mackay Trophy is awarded for the "most meritorious flight of the year" by Air Force personnel, says the NAA. The Trophy will be presented on Nov. 2, 2009, at the NAA fall Awards Banquet scheduled to meet in Arlington, Va.