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May 6, 2004
CWO3 Olin Ashworth, Distinguished Flying Cross Award

From this December 2003 Newsmax article:

Our nations highest aviation award is the Distinguished Flying Cross. This past July Chief Warrant Officer 3 Olin R. Ashworth, an Apache helicopter pilot, was awarded the DFC for intrepid conduct during a dramatic hour and twenty minute-long battle between the 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment and Iraqi forces on the evening of March 23.

Ashworth led his company of war birds into the target area, coming immediately under an intense barrage of enemy ground-fire.

Most helicopters were damaged by the onslaught and some were forced to limp back to base. Although having sustained hits, Ashworth pressed the attack. When his wingman came under heavy machine gun fire, he swooped down into the fray, knocking out the gun positions that had marked his fellow aviator.

Once finally over the target area, his aircraft took a round in the canopy, which sprayed glass into his co-pilot/gunners face, blinding him.

Now flying his battered ship solo, Ashworths harrowing flight back to base was again interrupted by the enemy. His wingman again received continuous fire from a heavy caliber machine gun position, as well as a fusillade of rocket-propelled-grenades. With his wingmans guns jammed and most of his rockets already expended, Ashworth again swept in, knocking out the enemy position with rocket fire.

Later when interviewed by a DoD reporter, the modest Ashworth commented only, Its a team, whether youre out there or not. I could tear it [the DFC] up into pieces and give everybody part of it, because everybody was out there covering me.

Modesty aside, Ashworth is now the warrior with the highest decoration in his unit.

More tomorrow ...

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 6, 2004 10:30 AM

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