The U.S. Air Force crew who helped deliver a baby on an Afghanistan evacuation flight last year is set to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
“We are proud of the accomplishments of the dedicated crew and thankful that they are being recognized in such a distinctive way,” 315th Airlift Wing Commander Col. John F. Robinson said in a statement, according to a Military.com report last week.
Capt. Dennis Conner, Capt. Leslie Green, Lt. Col. Wesley Adams and Tech. Sgt. Leah Schmidt were members of a C-17 Globemaster crew conducting evacuation flights rom Afghanistan during last year’s chaotic withdrawal when a woman onboard went into labor. Green, an Air Force flight nurse, sprung into action to assist the woman in giving birth.
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“The baby was perfect! … a little bit small; it definitely didn’t make it full term, but it came out crying,” Green said in a press release after the birth. “She [the baby] seemed to be doing well in this world.”
Adams, one of the pilots on the plane, credited Connor for making a smooth landing after the mid-air delivery.
“Someone said, ‘We took off with 270 children, and we landed with 271,” Adams said in a press release.
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Now the crew will be receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross, which is given for acts of heroism or extraordinary achievement during aerial operations, for their efforts in a ceremony Monday, part of a backlog of awards that need to be awarded to service members who took part in the final days of the U.S. war in Afghanistan.
“Make no mistake, we should have done this last year immediately after the operation, and I recognize our airmen’s frustration with the process,” Air Force Gen. Mike Minihan, head of Air Mobility Command, said in a statement. “We’re making that right, and we’ve worked with our partners across the Air Force to ensure AMC is able to swiftly and effectively recognize our mobility warriors.”