MCKINLEYVILLE, Calif. — Rear Adm. Brian Penoyer, the Eleventh Coast Guard District commander, presented Distinguished Flying Crosses to Cmdr. Derek Schramel, an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter pilot, and Petty Officer 1st Class Graham McGinnis, an aviation survival technician, and Air Medals to Lt.j.g. Adam Ownbey, an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter pilot, and Petty Officer 3rd Class Tyler Cook, an aviation maintenance technician, during an official ceremony, Thursday, at Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay in McKinleyville.
The aircrew was presented the awards for rescuing two injured firefighters who were unable to evacuate from a mountainside that was engulfed in flames during the Sept. 6, 2019, Middle Fire.
“It was just the best example of what we aspire to in naval aviation, in Coast Guard rescuing and in lifesaving operations.” said Penoyer.
The Distinguished Flying Cross is the nation's highest award for extraordinary aerial achievement. As a valor decoration, it is awarded to recipients for heroism while participating in an aerial flight.
The Air Medal is a prestigious award that is presented to an Armed Forces member who has distinguished themselves by heroic or meritorious achievement in aerial flight during the rescue of survivors.
According to the award citation, "the flight crew's outstanding airmanship and devotion to duty reflect great credit upon themselves and was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Coast Guard."