Sam McIntyre - Distinguished Flying Cross

Sam McIntyre - Distinguished Flying Cross

October 6, 2023

Distinguished Flying Cross Citation

Full click here (available 9 Oct) to see the full episode with Sam.

Lieutenant Colonel Samuel G. McIntyre distinguished himself by heroism in aerial flight while engaged in military

operations involving conflict against an opposing foreign force as U-28A Aircraft Commander at Hamid Karzai

International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan from 15 August 2021 to 16 August 2021. During this period, in support of

Operation FREEDOM'S SENTINEL, Colonel McIntyre's flying skill and courage saved the lives of his crew, Afghan

civilians, and United States Embassy and military personnel, throughout a twenty-four-hour duty day. Departing

Kabul amidst the initial Taliban invasion and tasked to defend an emergency United States Embassy evacuation,

Colonel McIntyre was immediately attacked by small arms and rocket fire less than one-thousand feet above the

ground. His precise defensive maneuvers saved the aircraft and lives of his crew as a rocket passed two-hundred feet

overhead. While this mission unfolded, violent urban warfare caused thousands of civilians and the enemy to stampede

over Kabul's airport security and obstruct the runway, thus challenging aircraft recovery, and potentially causing direct

impact to people at landing speed, which would be fatal for aircrew and civilians. Below emergency fuel, lacking

divert options and facing a runway covered by running humans, Colonel McIntyre used night vision goggles and

infrared sensors to execute a perilous and unprecedented feat of airmanship by landing between a moving gap in the

crowd. Despite exhaustion, upon learning the embassy rescue was incomplete, Colonel McIntyre accepted a second

high-risk mission protecting the evacuations' final hours; an intense assignment requiring full U-28A tactical

capabilities. Completing the mission and approaching emergency fuel condition a second time, Colonel McIntyre

again landed on Kabul's unsecure runway, taxiing near burning vehicles and dead bodies to safely recover his crew.

The outstanding heroism and selfless devotion to duty displayed by Colonel McIntyre reflected great credit upon

himself and the United States Air Force.

View from above of thousands of people over running the gate and walls at Kabul Airport
View from above. Thousands of people attempting to gain access to Kabul International

Distinguished Flying Cross citation for Sam McIntyre with Valor