SC Based Pilots Honored

Saved 88 soldiers in Afghanistan

June 10, 2018 - 5:25 pm

SUMTER, S.C. (AP) — Two South Carolina-based fighter pilots are being honored for saving 88 soldiers in Afghanistan who were surrounded by attacking forces that had them pinned down.

The Sumter Item reports Capts. John Nygard and Salvador Cruz were awarded Distinguished Flying Cross Medals at Shaw Air Force Base. They are credited with saving the lives of 88 American and coalition troops in the April 2017 firefight. Two American soldiers were killed in the battle with Islamic State or other militants.

Nygard and Cruz flew their F-16 fighter jets to the hours-long battle. They successfully made sense of the chaotic situation, determined over the radio where friendly and enemy forces were located, and dropped bombs at close range on the militants.

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