Pope pilot receives Air Force valor award

Posted March 24, 2009 11:38 a.m. EDT

— Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz has chosen Capt. Mason MacGarvey, a pilot with the 2nd Airlift Squadron, as the 2008 recipient of the American Legion’s Aviator Valor Award.

The Aviator Valor Award is given for conspicuous act of valor or courage performed during aerial flight during either combat or noncombat by a rated Air Force officer. It is sponsored by the American Legion Aviators' Post No. 743, in Huntington, N.Y.

MacGarvey was the aircraft commander of the Glide 51 crew, which safely navigated the landing of a C-130H aircraft in a field in Baghdad on June 27 after the plane lost power in three of its four engines. All 32 passengers and six crew members walked off the aircraft safely.

On March 9, the crew received the Air Force Chief of Safety Aircrew of Distinction Award for 2008.

“These tactical airlift warriors found themselves in very difficult circumstances through no fault of their own," Lt. Col. Larry Floyd, 2nd Airlift Squadron acting commander, said in a statement. "Every one of these Airmen lead by example every day. They have succeeded through hard work, determination and deep sense of duty. Ultimately, that focus saved lives.”

“These awards are a great example of the Air Force supporting people put in extraordinary circumstances,” MacGarvey said in a statement. “I would like to thank both my deployed and home station commanders for their steadfast support of me and my crew since the event."