Stationed at: RAF Lakenheath, UK
Technical Sergeant Louis V. Distelzweig III distinguished himself by heroism while engage in ground operations against an armed enemy of the United States in the rugged mountains of central Afghanistan on 21 October 2004. On that date, Sergeant Distelzweig launched as the Pararescue Team Leader aboard an HC-130P to perform a medical evacuation of an Afghani election worker suffering from a gunshot wound. While attempting to perform the extraction, an HH-60 crashed and rolled down the mountain with six American casualties. While circling overhead the crash site, Sergeant Distelzweig assessed the situation, planned a course of action, and prepared for a risky night airdrop into the mountainous valley. While thinking only of the survivors, he led a daring combat freefall jump into the unmarked and unsurveyed drop zone. With no lunar illumination, Sergeant Distelzweig directed the use of Night Vision Goggles under canopy for the first time ever, landing within yards of the crash site. Once on the ground, he immediately began life-saving medical treatment on three critical patients, while establishing perimeter security. After stabilizing the patients, Sergeant Distelzweig ordered the removal and destruction of classified material and equipment from the HH-60 to prevent enemy compromise. While communicating with the Combat Search and Rescue Task Force, he developed an evacuation plan to remove all casualties from the crash site while directing A-l0 close air support against several potential enemy threats. Sergeant Distelzweig commandeered an off-road vehicle and made three overland movements through enemy terrain transporting the seven casualties to a more suitable landing zone for recovery. Six lives saved! By his heroic actions and unselfish dedication to duty, Sergeant Distelzweig has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.