Pilot receives AF Exceptional Aviator Award

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Bryan T. Guthrie
  • 99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

An A-10C Thunderbolt ll pilot was awarded the Air Force Exceptional Aviator Award on Oct. 5 in the 6th Combat Training Squadron auditorium at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.

Capt. Eric W. Calvey, an A-10C Weapons Instructor Course instructor assigned the 6th CTS, received the award for outstanding leadership, airmanship and assuring mission success during Operation Inherent Resolve in Syria.

“Being the U.S. Air Force recipient of this award is quite an honor, though I really am accepting the award on behalf of the professionals in the 74th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron and the A-10 community in general,” said Calvey. “The entire operational and maintenance support structure plays a role in getting our aircraft airborne, the weapons we need to accomplish the mission and return home safely.  The ingenuity of everyone in the unit to solve continuously evolving tactical problems over the course of the deployment is what makes our squadron so successful and is what, I feel, this award is truly about.” 

Facing deteriorating weather, jammed communications, a malfunctioning target pod, Calvey seized the objective by completing a series of reconnaissance scans, integrating a remotely piloted aircraft to identify and differentiate between friendly and enemy positions and build a picture of the complex battle field.

“Capt. Calvey's nomination is similar to the nominations from all the services in previous years,” said Nicholas B. Kehoe, President of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation. “What stood out to me was his willingness to accept responsibility for supporting the ground forces under serious fire despite all the uncertainties and obstacles associated with the situation they faced, such as bad weather, communications problems, among others.”

 Exceptional Airmanship was instrumental in Calvey’s flight. He eliminated three enemy vehicles, several ZPU-2 anti-aircraft machine guns, an enemy’s outpost and eight enemy fighters.

 “I'm confident that any other aviator in my unit would have fought with the same intensity and effected the battle in a positive manner on that day if placed in the same situation as I was,” said Calvey.