An Air Force special operations pilot was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross at a July 6 ceremony on Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, for his efforts to resupply Army Special Forces soldiers under heavy fire in Afghanistan two years ago.
Maj. Michael Tolzien, from Kirtland’s 58th Special Operations Wing, received the DFC “with valor,” which means his actions were conducted at grave personal risk while engaged with the enemy, according to Kirtland officials.
In January 2016, while serving in Afghanistan, then-Capt. Tolzien received an alert for a high priority mission: A team of Green Berets was under heavy enemy fire, isolated from conventional support and would soon be overrun by enemy forces.
Sgt. 1st Class Matthew McClintock from 19th Special Forces Group out of Buckley, Washington, had already been killed in the fight near the city of Marjah, in Afghanistan’s Helmand province.