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Awards of the Silver Star

for 
Conspicuous Gallantry
in Action During
Operation Allied Force
In Kosovo
(1999)

 
Operation Allied Force was a 78-day NATO operation in efforts to degrade and damage the military and security structure that Yugoslavian President Milosevic had used to depopulate and destroy the Albanian majority in Kosovo. During that period more than 38,000 sorties were flown without the loss of a single American life. During air operations over the region two American aircraft were shot down and for heroic and successful operations, numerous awards of the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, and Bronze Stars were awarded to U.S. Pilots, Air Force Pararescue men, and other Search and Rescue personnel. In addition, awards were also presented to airmen engaged in offensive operations against enemy surface-to-air missile sites, as well as MiG aircraft on the ground.

Silver Star Awards in Kosovo

U.S. Navy

Brurud, Brian B.

U.S. Air Force

Blinkinsop, Sonny P.
Cardoso, James L.
Cherrey, John A.
Culbertson, Cary N.
Denehan, William F.
Franks, Chad P.
Giovenella, Steve R.
Kavlick, Adam B.
Landreth, Kent A.
Thomas, William L., Jr.

Citations


U.S. Navy

BRURUD, BRIAN B.
Synopsis:
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star Medal to Brian B. Brurud, Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as an F14A Tomcat Pilot with Fighting Squadron FORTY-ONE (VF-41), embarked from the U.S.S. THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN-71), on 2 May 1999, in action during an air attack against the Podgorica Airfield in the Serbian province of Montenegro in support of Operation Allied Force. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Lieutenant Commander Brurud has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service.
Home Town: Bartlesville, Oklahoma

U.S. Air Force

BLINKINSOP, SONNY P.
Citation:
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star Medal to Sonny P. Blinkinsop, Captain, U.S. Air Force, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force while serving as Pilot of an F-16 Fighter Plane in the 23d Fighter Squadron, 31st Air Expeditionary Wing, near Obrva, Yugoslavia, on 2 May 1999. On that date, Captain Blinkinsop lead a flight of F-16CJ aircraft into the heavily defended Obrva Airfield Area, defended by a robust array of SA-3 batteries and heavy caliber anti-aircraft artillery. Minutes after establishing their Combat Air Patrol, several SA-3 launches were visually detected from the target area. Recognizing the danger, Captain Blinkinsop directed his number three man to employ a reactive high-speed antiradiation missile. As number three turned to fire, Captain Blinkinsop's flight came under fire from subsequent salvos of SA-3s. With no personal regard to his own safety, he immediately turned his aircraft to engage the SA-3. Captain Blinkinsop fired a reactive high-speed antiradiation missile to suppress the SA-3, silencing the site. While reforming his flight, the second wave of strikers entered the Obrva SA-3 rings. Captain Blinkinsop again turned and fired his last missile as two more SA-3 missiles were launched at the strikers. His action forced the SA-3 to shut down allowing all strikers to make a safe recovery to friendly territory. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Captain Blinkinsop has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
Home Town: Toland, Connecticut


CARDOSO, JAMES L.
Citation:
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star Medal to James L. Cardoso, Captain, U.S. Air Force, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in military operations against an armed enemy of the United States as Pilot of an MH-53 Pave Low Rescue Helicopter of the 16th Special Operations Wing, in action near Batajnica, Serbia, on 27 March 1999. On that date, Captain Cardoso, as MH-53M flight lead, commanded and flew the successful combat search and rescue of an American F-117A pilot shot down within 25 miles of Belgrade. He fearlessly led his formation at great personal risk to himself and his crews by penetrating an extremely formidable air defense system, which had full knowledge that the rescue attempt was being made, and avoided numerous Serbian ground troops actively trying to locate and destroy his three helicopters. With his terrain-following radar turned off to prevent enemy detection, Captain Cardoso flew at 100 feet above the ground avoiding wires and towers with merely one half-mile visibility. At one crucial point, it was only his quick reaction and precise aircraft control that prevented collision with a nearly invisible set of power lines, saving the flight and the mission. His skillful combat use of the new Interactive Defensive Avionics System was an Air Force first and allowed him to completely evade enemy forces, greatly enhancing their survivability throughout the 5.5 hour mission. Captain Cardoso's heroic actions saved an American pilot from enemy capture at a critically sensitive time early in the air campaign. This preserved public support for our national policy and bolstered the coalition by denying the enemy a key source of exploitation. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Captain Cardoso has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
Home Town: Cherry Hill, New Jersey


CHERREY, JOHN A.
Synopsis:
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star Medal to John A. Cherrey, Captain, U.S. Air Force, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in military operations against an armed enemy of the United States as Pilot of an A-10 Warthog of the 81st Fighter Squadron, 40th Air Expeditionary Group, in action near Novi Sad, Serbia, on 27 March 1999. On that date, Captain Cherrey was the overall Commander of a combat Search-and-Rescue Task Force tasked with locating and recovering an American F-117A pilot shot down within 25 miles of Belgrade. Captain Cherrey flew into the teeth of the Serbian Air defenses, battling constant communication jamming and intrusion, deteriorating weather, repeated targeting of his aircraft by deadly SA-3 and SA-6 surface-to-air missiles, and the threat of enemy aircraft only a few miles from the downed F-117A stealth fighter pilot's location. At extreme risk to his life, Captain Cherrey overflew unknown Serbian territory while fully exposed to surface-to-air threats, until he positively identified the pilot and his location. Captain Cherrey deceived enemy radar and concealed the intended pickup site by maneuvering his formation away from the downed pilot's position and into the SA-3 and SA-6 lethal ranges. Critically low on fuel, Captain Cherrey refused to abandon his post. With impeccable courage, he stayed in an increasingly hostile environment to be close to the downed pilot until the rescue. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Captain Cherrey has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
Home Town: Hoboken, New Jersey


CULBERTSON, CARY N.
Synopsis:
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star Medal to Cary N. Culbertson, Captain, U.S. Air Force, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force while serving as Pilot of an F-16 Fighter Plane in action, near Belgrade, Yugoslavia, on 14 April 1999. On that date, Captain Culbertson was leading a flight of F-16CJs that was providing suppression of enemy air defenses for B-2 bombers on a strike mission near Belgrade when Serbian forces fired three SA-3s at the fighter planes. Captain Culbertson turned his F-16 toward the rising missiles and attacked the SA-3 site with a high-speed antiradiation missile. The enemy then launched two more SA- 3s, this time directly targeting Captain Culbertson's aircraft. Although he would have been justified to discontinue his attack and defend against the incoming missiles, Captain Culbertson, with total disregard for his own personal safety and with the lives of his flight members foremost in his mind, continued his attack. Firing a HARM missile he destroyed the enemy radar dish, and then evaded the SA-3s. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Captain Culbertson has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.


DENEHAN, WILLIAM F.
Synopsis:
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star Medal to William F. Denehan, Captain, U.S. Air Force, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in military operations against an armed enemy of the United States as Pilot of an MH-60G Pave Hawk Helicopter of the 55th Special Operations Squadron, 16th Special Operations Wing, in action near Novi Sad, Serbia, on 2 May 1999. On that date, Captain Denehan participated in a combat Search-and-Rescue Task Force tasked with locating and recovering an American F-16 pilot shot down in Serbia. For more than an hour Captain Denehan flew through sporadic barrages of surface-to-air missiles, anti-aircraft and small arms fire and once was targeted by an SA-9 missile, which missed by only 100 feet. Though his helicopter was hit in the fuselage and left engine cowling by small arms fire, he remained until the downed airman was located, landing his battered helicopter at sunrise to recover the pilot and return with him to base. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Captain Denehan has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.


FRANKS, CHAD P.
Synopsis:
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star Medal to Chad P. Franks, Captain, U.S. Air Force, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in military operations against an armed enemy of the United States as Pilot of an MH-60G Pave Hawk Helicopter of the 55th Special Operations Squadron, 16th Special Operations Wing, in action near Batajnica, Serbia, on 27 March 1999. On that date, Captain Franks participated in a combat Search-and-Rescue Task Force tasked with locating and recovering an American F-117A pilot shot down within 25 miles of Belgrade. After the downed pilot was located, Captain Franks landed his Pave Hawk helicopter within 100 yards of the downed airman while his Pararescue men established a hasty perimeter. With minimal communication but careful and discreet authentication of his identity, the search and rescue team rushed the downed pilot onboard the MH-60G Pave Hawk and Captain Franks was airborne within sixty seconds, before any enemy response could occur, and returned with the rescued airman to base. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Captain Franks has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.


GIOVENELLA, STEVE R.
Synopsis:
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star Medal to Steve R. Giovenella, Captain, U.S. Air Force, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force while serving as Pilot of an F-16 Fighter Plane in action near Pristina Airfield, Serbia, on 12 May 1999. On that date, Captain Giovenella led a two-ship flight of F-16s on a search for an SA-6 missile site near heavily-defended Pristina airfield, in central Kosovo. While the F-16s wee collecting imagery of the area, Serb gunners opened fire with a thick stream of anti-aircraft artillery fire from three different AAA sites. Captain Giovenella controlled his wingman during successful attacks on two of the actively firing sites and, when his wingman had expended his ordnance, attacked the third enemy AAA site. With rounds detonating above and perilously near his canopy, Captain Giovenella guided his bombs directly onto the AAA site, sending a sorely needed message to Serbian forces that there was a price to pay for shooting at NATO forces. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Captain Giovenella has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.


KAVLICK, ADAM B.
Synopsis:
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star Medal to Adam B. Kavlick, Captain, U.S. Air Force, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force while serving as Pilot of an F-16 Fighter Plane in the 555th Fighter Squadron, near Novi Sad, Serbia, on 2 May 1999. On that date, Captain Kavlick was flying lead in a group of F-16CJs on a mission to destroy Serb SA-3 and SA-6 surface-to-air missile batteries, when his wingman was struck by an SA-3 missile, causing engine failure and forcing the pilot to eject. Captain Kavlick established the pilot's position, heard his survival beacon, made radio contact with him and marshaled the forces necessary for a rescue. Once during the 90-minute wait for rescue helicopters to arrive on the scene, Captain Kavlick's formation of F-16s was shot at by surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft guns. Captain Kavlick remained on station, however, to coordinate the unfolding successful rescue. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Captain Kavlick has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
Home Town: Festus, Missouri


LANDRETH, KENT A.
Synopsis:
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star Medal to Kent A. Landreth, Captain, U.S. Air Force, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in military operations against an armed enemy of the United States as Pilot of an MH-53 Pave Low Helicopter of the 16th Special Operations Wing, in action near Novi Sad, Serbia, on 2 May 1999. On that date, Captain Landreth participated in a combat Search-and-Rescue Task Force tasked with locating and recovering an American F-16 pilot shot down in Serbia. As Flight Leader, for more than an hour Captain Landreth led three special operations helicopters through sporadic barrages of surface-to-air missiles, anti-aircraft fire, and small arms fire, until the downed pilot was successfully rescued. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Captain Landreth has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.


THOMAS, WILLIAM L., JR.
Synopsis:
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star Medal to William L. Thomas, Jr., Captain, U.S. Air Force, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force while serving as Pilot of an F-16 Fighter Plane in action near Belgrade, Yugoslavia, on 7 June 1999. On that date, Captain Thomas was flying with a group of F-16s near Batanjnica Airfield, near Belgrade, when he located four Serbian MiG-29s parked below. He and his wingman each destroyed one of the jets on a first pass over the airfield. On a second pass he destroyed a third MiG, but Serbian forces managed to fire two SA-3s, which forced Captain Thomas' wingman into evasive maneuvers, temporarily blinding him and sending him into a low-altitude dive in the midst of anti-aircraft artillery fire. Captain Thomas, with complete disregard for his own personal safety, flew into the AAA zone and dispensed flares to draw fire upon himself and away from his wingman. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Captain Thomas has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

 

 

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FEATURE STORIES
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What Does 
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FOOTNOTES
In
HISTORY

NEW
Looking for a Hero or trying to verify awards? We have posted the names of more than 120,000 recipients of the highest awards in a BRAND NEW FREE SECTION
DECORATIONS 1862 - Present
.

Military Medals & Awards 

Information and Images of ALL Military Medals
The Purple Heart 
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  How to Obtain Military Records of a Family Member 

Honor Roll of America's Military Heroes


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Silver Star

U.S. History and Information
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