Photo Information

Capt. Brian Jordan and Lt. Col. William Chesarek , helicopter pilots, are the only two Marines to receive the British Distinguished Flying Cross since World War II. The award’s precedence is equal to the Silver Star Medal. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Justin M. Boling/Released)

Photo by Sgt. Justin M. Boling

Marine aviator receives high-flying British honor for saving lives

12 Feb 2014 | Sgt. Justin M. Boling

A UH-1Y Venom pilot received the British Distinguished Flying Cross, Feb. 12 at the British Embassy in Washington.

Capt. Brian Jordan, the second Marine aviator to earn the medal since World War II, was honored for his actions on June 21, 2012, while deployed in Afghanistan.

“This has been a very amazing and humbling experience for me,” Jordan said. “I really am accepting this on behalf of my flight crew and all of the maintainers who work tirelessly on keeping these aircraft operating.

“Without them none of these actions would have been possible.”

Jordan said he could not have accomplished this award without the direct efforts of his aircrew consisting of Capt. Joshua Miller, Gunnery Sgt. Andrew Bond, Staff Sgt. Steven Seay and Cpl. Joshua Martinez. The captain also attributes the support of Lt. Col. Stephen Lightfoot and Capt. Frank Jublonski, the pilots of the AH-1Z Viper Super Cobra accompanying them on the mission.

“I am happy for him and anyone else who could accomplish something like this,” Gunnery Sgt. Andrew Bond, the crew chief during the mission, said. “I am very proud of him.”

Jordan arrived on Camp Bastion, Helmand province, Afghanistan in late May 2012 with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 469. Jordan and his flight crew were tasked with a mission to support the British Grenadier Guards.

“We worked together as a constant combat crew, and I had become very used to working with him,” Bond, with more than 14 years of experience, said. “Still being a relatively young pilot, he was doing well and was always open to listen to us.”

The squadron’s aircraft spent 40 minutes providing reconnaissance of buildings surrounding the area the guardsmen were patrolling and when requested supplied cover fire. Jordan and his aircrew had depleted most of their fuel and spent ordinance to suppress an enemy attack, which had pinned down the British soldiers.

Jordan and his crew were preparing to return to Bastion when they saw an explosion.

“I remember the [joint tactical air controller] saying over the radio, ‘Man Down, man down, request immediate MEDEVAC,” Jordan said. “One of the guardsmen had stepped on an [improvised explosive device]. He had lost a limb and was going into shock.” 

Jordan and his crew began to discuss the situation and began preparing a medical evacuation request form for higher headquarters. 

“It can be a little frustrating at times, but you have to follow the orders you are briefed,” Bond said. “The end state was somebody needs our help and you don’t want to let them down.”

They calculated it would take more than 30 minutes for another aircraft to come and pick up the two wounded British guardsmen.

“I talked to the crew, and we made the assessment that we were all comfortable with going down to picking up the wounded soldier,” Jordan said. “We then heard over the radio, that there was no time and he won’t make it.

“We all agreed this is what we need to do, we talked to our section leader and told him our intention and he said they would provide cover fire as we went down for the pick.”

Jordan landed between the enemy and soldiers. 

“Both Staff Sgt. Seay and I are search and rescue qualified, so we began to rearrange and prepare the inside of the aircraft the best we could,” Bond said. 

The aircrew landed in-between enemy fighters and the British troops to pick up the British soldiers.

“The situation made it feel like we were on the ground for an eternity,” Jordan said. “Even though we could not have been on the ground for more than 10 seconds.

“Both aircraft were in a very low fuel state. We pulled full torque and got the soldier back to Bastion for medical attention.”

Both wounded British soldiers survived.

“I feel like we were just doing our duty,” Jordan said. “We took the actions we needed to make sure we saved a soldier’s life. Do I think I went above and beyond? —No absolutely not.

“We are just doing our job to support all the ground forces in any way possible.”

Jordan is currently preparing to serve as a pilot instructor at Marine Light Attack Helicopter Training Squadron 303 at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. He will teach newly commissioned pilots to operate the UH-1Y Venom.

“You go through a lot of training to make sure you can make the hard decision when things do not go the way you anticipate,” Jordan said. “It is not just pilots. It is all Marines — Marines always do what is right."

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