This week in history: Hackney receives Cheney Award

Airman 1st Class (E-4) Duane Hackney receives Air Force Cross. He was the first living recipient of the medal. (Courtesy photo)

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Chief Master Sgt. Duane Hackney was the first living enlisted recipient of the Air Force Cross during the Vietnam War. The three others before him were awarded the medal posthumously. (U.S. Air Force photo)

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Tech. Sgt. Duane Hackney, pararescueman and recipient of the Air Force Cross. (U.S. Air Force photo)

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KIRTLAND AFB, N.M. -- On Oct. 30, 1968, Airman 2nd Class Duane D. Hackney (June 5, 1947 - Sept. 3, 1993), a pararescueman who received 28 decorations for valor in combat, received the 1967 Cheney Award for actions in Vietnam to save a downed pilot.

Hackney received more than 70 individual awards, and is often considered the most decorated enlisted man in Air Force history.

The Cheney Award is presented by the Air Force in memory of 1st Lt. William Cheney, who was killed in an air collision over Italy in 1918.

The award, established in 1927, is presented to an Airman for an act of valor, extreme fortitude or self-sacrifice in a humanitarian interest, performed in connection with aircraft.