HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, Ga. - A Soldier from the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade was awarded the Army Aviation Broken Wing Award, March 7, at Hunter Army Airfield. Chief Warrant Officer 3 James Hagerty, a Black Hawk pilot and safety officer for 4th Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, 3rd CAB, received the award for his actions in Afghanistan when his aircraft experienced an engine failure.
"A cardboard box flew into our engine which caused it to fail," said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Hagerty. "At first I thought we got shot because it made a loud bang but the crew chiefs explained that we ingested a box. After that, I didn't really think I just reacted. We were over a ragged cliff and we couldn't land so I nosed the helicopter over to gain speed and a little bit of power. The flight was seven minutes and we conducted a roll-on landing (where the aircraft rolls as it hit the ground rather than hovering)."
The Broken Wing Award is highly regarded and rarely awarded to aircrew members that operate aircraft under Army control. An aircrew member must minimize or prevent aircraft damage and injury to personnel during an emergency situation. They must show extraordinary skill while recovering an aircraft from an in-flight emergency situation.
The award was presented by Col. Don Galli, the commander of the 3rd CAB, who led the brigade during their most recent deployment in Afghanistan.
"He displayed technical expertise, tactical aviation skills and made split-second decisions that saved the lives of his crew in a flight that would have otherwise been catastrophic," said Col. Galli."
"I appreciate the award," said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Hagerty during the presentation. "I don't think I want to earn another one though."