By Sgt. 1st Class Jason Cauley
160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment Public Affairs
Fort Campbell, KY – Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), were recognized for combat actions during the past 24 months at a rare ceremony August 16th.
The unit added seven combat streamers to the battalion colors, and more than 30 Night Stalkers were recognized by the unit for their service and contributions.
“Today we will present more than 40 awards which will represent just some of the hard work and achievement that each of you in uniform does every day to employ the combat power of our nation,” said Lt. Col. Phil Ryan, 2nd Battalion commander. “This recognition by the Army shows the unprecedented commitment of the Darkhorse to our nation’s fight against terrorism.”
Spc. Henry Mason was the first Soldier presented with an award. Mason received the Purple Heart for wounds sustained during an enemy engagement with his aircraft in January 2009.
Captains Alex Bertelli and Mark Buck were awarded the Bronze Star Medal for their service as air mission commander and joint task force commander respectively. Both served in their position throughout multiple deployments beginning in 2008. Buck also received the Air Medal for Valor, which recognizes heroic acts of valorous deeds during combat aerial flight.
An additional 10 Air Medals for Valor, three Air Medals, the Army Commendation Medal for Valor, two Army Commendation Medals, six Army Achievement Medals, 11 Combat Action Badges, 12 Certificates of Achievement and four Certificates of Appreciation were presented. Several Soldiers received multiple recognitions.
One Soldier, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Timothy Wyrtzen, received the Order of St. Michael Bronze Award recognizing his more than 14 years of service as an aviator culminating as a flight lead qualified aviator and senior instructor pilot in the Army’s only Special Operations Aviation Regiment.
“One year from this October will be the 30th anniversary of our regiment … We will have been engaged in combat operations for more than one-third of this unit’s existence, and that’s saying something in and of itself,” said Col. John Thompson, the 160th SOAR commander. “That speaks to the professionalism and dedication of each and every one of you here today.”
Ryan echoed Thompson’s remarks adding, “We ask a great deal of our Night Stalkers and their Families. And it isn’t often that we have the chance to properly celebrate their successes, but it is always rewarding when the opportunity does arise.”
Night Stalkers remain continuously deployed and engaged at multiple locations in overseas contingency operations.