NEWS | Aug. 1, 2013

5 members of Joint Task Force-Bravo receive award for heroism

By U.S. Staff Sgt. Jarrod Chavana Joint Task Force-Bravo Public Affairs Office

During an award ceremony five U.S. military personnel from Joint Task Force-Bravo were honored at the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa July 30 for the heroism they displayed in saving the lives of nine civilians on July 3.

On July 2, a U.S. Army Utility Helicopter-60 from the 1-228 Aviation Battalion, at Soto Cano Air Base, was dispatched to the Caribbean Sea to help locate two Americans, one Canadian and six Hondurans, which had last been seen June 30.

Chief Warrant Officer-3 Jay Hanshaw, pilot; Warrant Officer Zachary Lungu, pilot, Air Force Tech. Sgt. Logan Davis, JTF-Bravo Personnel Recovery Coordination Cell Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape specialist; Army Sgt. Travis Mayo, flight medic; and Army Spc. Robert Clement, crew chief, received the award from the Honorable Lisa Kubiske, U.S. ambassador to Honduras.

"We don't have these ceremonies very often and there is a reason," said Kubiske. "They are for very special occasions and the one today is for that category. You saved nine lives and you can't do anything that is more important or more rewarding."

"What makes this even more extraordinary is the way in which you did the work, the amount of care and commitment you put into it without giving up," she added. "This is what we always hope for, but it's above and beyond what any one agency does or above and beyond what we do as a government."

In order to locate the missing civilians, JTF-Bravo coordinated with Southern Command's Personnel Recovery Branch, the U.S. Department of State, Military Group, the regional security officer and the American citizen services chief located at the U.S. Embassy, which synchronized the aerial search efforts between the 7th District's Coast Guard and JTF-Bravo's aircraft.

"It was motivational in the sense that the ambassador did not have to recognize the efforts of the Department of Defense, but she took the time to extend her appreciation of all who worked together to save the stranded boaters," said Davis.

During the search and rescue Davis acted as the SERE and joint personnel recovery subject matter expert by analyzing and validating the intelligence information and providing critical input to tactical level personnel rescue mission planning, which aided in the rescue.

"You are noble service members performing noble deeds," said JTF-Bravo Commander Col. Thomas D. Boccardi. "The tasks you performed in order to save those people were extraordinary and we are all very proud of you."