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A Penchant of Valor: The Air Force has decorated 11 airmen from the California Air National Guard's 129th Rescue Wing with the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor for rescue missions in Afghanistan from 2009 to 2010. Bestowing one of the Air Force's highest awards on 11 airmen simultaneously "is nothing short of extraordinary," said Army Brig. Gen. Matthew Beevers, California National Guard assistant adjutant general, during the Nov. 5 awards ceremony at Moffett Federal Airfield, home of the wing. He added, "The 129th has come to be recognized as one of the most highly decorated units to have fought in Operation Enduring Freedom." Pinned for their heroic actions were (in ascending chronological order):

Maj. Thomas Keegan, HH-60 pilot, near FOB Bastion, June 29, 2009;
Lt. Col. George Dona, HH-60 pilot, near Kandahar Airfield, July 29, 2009;
Maj. Mary Jennings Hegar, HH-60 pilot, near Kandahar, July 29, 2009;
SMSgt. Steven Burt, HH-60 flight engineer, near Kandahar, July 29, 2009;
TSgt. Tiejie Jones, HH-60 gunner, near Kandahar, July 29, 2009;
Lt. Col. Rhys Hunt, HH-60 pilot, near Kandahar, Aug. 9, 2009;
Lt. Andrew Hedin, HH-60 flight engineer, near Kandahar, Aug. 9, 2009;
CMSgt. Jason Red, HH-60 gunner, near Kandahar, Aug. 9, 2009;
MSgt. Luigge Romanillo, pararescueman, near Bagram Airfield, May 4, 2010;
SMSgt. Larry Hiyakumoto, pararescueman, near Bagram, June 27, 2010; and
SSgt. Joshua Webster, pararescueman, near Bagram, June 27, 2010.

(Moffett report by SrA. Jessica Green)