AMC recognizes 19 Exceptional Airmen

  • Published
  • By Kenneth Abbate
  • 60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

As stated in the U.S. Air Force Core values, “Integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do” are the three core principles that guide U.S. Air Force Airmen. Gen. Mike Minihan, commander of Air Mobility Command, hosted an Operation Allies Refuge (OAR) medal awards ceremony here for 19 Airmen whose heroic acts during this campaign represented those core principles, April 2, 2024.  

The ceremony included a presentation for the awards and decorations to include the Bronze Star Medal with Valor to Maj. Kayleigh Migaleddi, 60th Air Mobility Wing Commander’s Action Group chief and 60th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron flight nurse evaluator, the Distinguished Flying Cross with Combat Device to Staff Sgt. Charles Phillips, 60th Maintenance Group, C-17 Globemaster III propulsion instructor, and Air Medals with Combat Device to 17 other Airmen for their actions while deployed in Kabul, Afghanistan August 2021. 

“As amazing as these medals are and the citations that accompany them, they are not enough to say thank you for what this team did,” said Minihan. “This recognition is a statement on American, Air Force and mobility exceptionalism…the best thing we can do when it comes to those who serve is give each other our respect. It transcends generations. It transcends different acts of courage. The one thing that will follow us in this life and into the next is the respect we have for each other. And if it means anything to you all, you have my utmost respect each and every day. Seventeen days, 124,000 people, one runway.” 

The Bronze Star Medal, authorized by Executive Order 9419 Feb. 4, 1944, is awarded to a member of any branch of military service who, while serving with the armed forces of the U.S., distinguishes themselves by heroic or meritorious achievement or service in connection with military operations against an armed enemy. 

According to the award citation, Migaleddi distinguished herself by the heroism she displayed as a liaison team member attached to 405th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron while engaged in operations at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan Aug. 26-27, 2021. During that period, while exposed to a dangerous situation, Migaleddi’s medical skills, courage, dedication and personal sacrifice directly contributed to the successful treatment and aeromedical evacuation of 38 critically injured patients and 40 Afghan citizens.  

“Every day, the memory of Aug. 26 weighs heavy on my mind,” said Migaleddi. “I joined the Air Force with the desire to make a difference and provide care for all, I knew this since I was 10 years old after watching 9/11. I am proud of the actions taken by myself and the team that night, as well as throughout the months we spent there. Today, I stand among a lineage of heroes, including 1st Lt. Cordelia Cook, an Army Nurse, who earned the distinction of being the first female recipient of the Bronze Star.” 

The Distinguished Flying Cross, authorized by Congress July 2, 1926, is awarded to any officer or enlisted member of the U.S. armed forces for heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight. 

According to the award citation, Phillips distinguished himself by extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as a C-17 flying crew chief attached to 313th Airlift Squadron out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, Aug. 26, 2021. On that day, Staff Sgt. Phillips and his crew were dispatched with 23,000 pounds of critical base supplies and caskets for the deceased U.S. service members at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan. On approach to Kabul, he assisted in tactical maneuvering of the aircraft to avoid sporadic machine gun fire, navigating through congested airspace with minimal air traffic control support.  

“Receiving recognition for my role as a flying crew chief during OAR is incredibly humbling,” said Phillips. “This award stands testament to the exceptional teamwork and dedication between my aircrew and the teams on the ground in Afghanistan, whose unwavering commitment ensured the success of our mission and our safe return home. I am incredibly grateful for the sacrifices made by our partners both within the Department of Defense and amongst our foreign allies, whose commitment to the mission and the people of Afghanistan exemplifies the spirit of self-sacrifice and comradery.” 

To conclude the ceremony, 17 other Airmen were awarded the Air Medal with Combat Device for their actions during the aerial flight in Kabul in support of OAR, demonstrating bravery and tenacity, while keeping in line with the tradition of valorous mobility Airmen. 


Those awarded the Air Medal were: 

Senior Airman Blue Irwin, 60th Security Forces Squadron. 

Capt. Michael Austin, 301st Airlift Squadron. 

Senior Airman Seth James, 60th Security Forces Squadron. 

Staff Sgt. Joseph Martinez, 860th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. 

Tech. Sgt. Brian Dixon, 21st Airlift Squadron. 

Senior Airman Jacob Titus, 21st Airlift Squadron. 

Staff Sgt. Dylan Saimes, 349th Security Forces Squadron. 

Capt. Jalen Anderson, 301st Airlift Squadron. 

Maj. Craig Husby, 21st Airlift Squadron. 

Col. Troy Ogle, 940th Air Refueling Wing 

Tech. Sgt. Christopher Raymond, 301st Airlift Squadron. 

Tech. Sgt. Luke Cahoon, 945th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. 

Maj. Betsy Mayes, 349th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron. 

Master Sgt. Francis Morgan, 301st Airlift Squadron. 

Lt. Col. Thomas Parker, 312th Airlift Squadron. 

Senior Airman Robert Presley, 349th Security Forces Squadron. 

Tech. Sgt. Joel Soule, 945th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.