58th SOW Airmen recognized for answering their nations call

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Karissa Dick
  • 377th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Five Airmen from the 58th Special Operations Wing were recognized with the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, Jan. 11, 2023.

The Distinguished Flying Cross is awarded to any officer or enlistee in the U.S. military for heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight that involves operations that are not routine. The Air Medal is awarded to U.S. military and civilian personnel for single acts of heroism or meritorious achievements while participating in aerial flight in support of combat operations.

Two Airmen received the Distinguished Flying Cross and three received the Air Medal for their heroic aerial flight and aerial support. These Airmen were recognized for their heroic roles in a rescue mission of an American hostage in Africa during October 2020. This successful operation was the longest distance hostage rescue conducted during night in the Department of Defense history and was completed within 48 hours of their initial notification.

“I’m extraordinarily proud that the mission they executed ended so well.” said Maj. Gen. Phillip Stewart, 19th Air Force commander and presiding officer. “The asymmetric advantage of America at war is our people, our great warriors.”

One of the Distinguished Flying Cross recipients, Maj. Kyle Konkolics, 71st Special Operations Squadron chief of squadron safety, shared his thoughts on receiving the award.

“I’m very honored and very humbled to be recognized with this award. There were a lot of great [people] on that mission who are very deserving as well,” said Konkolics. “Being recognized personally is amazing, but most importantly getting that American citizen back is what I feel great about.”

(The Distinguished Flying Cross was presented to Maj. Kyle Konkolics and Senior Master Sgt. Christopher Reedy. The Air Medal was presented to Staff Sgt. Christin Springs, Tech. Sgt. Thomas Morgan and Staff Sgt. Robert Duck.)