Member of 815th Airlift Squadron Receives Prestigious Military Honor

A member of the 815th Airlift Squadron received top honors in Biloxi Sunday morning for his heroic actions during a mission in Afghanistan.

The night of February 13, 2002 will forever be sketched in Major Denny Tutwiler's mind, and his actions that evening will not soon be forgotten.

"His superior airman ship and sturdy constitution enabled him to assume on scene commander duties while providing numerous helicopter air refueling in poor weather conditions to support the extraction of eight airmen and colleagues," said a military colleague at the ceremony.

The parents of Major Denny Tutwiler proudly looked on as their son was awarded one of the military's most prestigious awards, the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Although he received a standing ovation from his fellow airmen, the decorated service man seemed proud but humble after the ceremony.

"I was just doing my job. Anybody would have probably done it, if they were in my position, saved their buddies. I mean these are guys I worked with and I watched them crash into a mountain," Maj. Tutwiler said.

But all eight of the crash victims survived, thanks to Major Tutwiler's quick thinking and brave decision to repeatedly fly back and forth through treacherous weather and rugged mountainous terrain to the crash site.

Word of Major Tutwiler's heroic actions that night in Afghanistan didn't catch many of his colleagues or family members by surprise.

"It feels good that he was able to do it, that he's able to do his job and complete his mission and by doing that can save other people's lives. You can't ask much more of a military man than that," said Maj. Tutwiler's father, J.D. Tutwiler.

Tutwiler is one of the few airmen in this nation to wear the Distinguished Flying Cross, but he says his true reward has been in serving his country and fellow man.