Moody Airman recieves rescue communities' highest honor

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Spencer Gallien
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs
A deployed Moody HH-60G Pave Hawk pilot received the Air Rescue Association's 2007 Richard T. Kight Award due to his outstanding support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.

Capt. Jason Snyder, 41st Rescue Squadron chief of standardizations and evaluations, earned the association's highest honor in deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan.

This recognition brings the Kight Award back to Moody for the second year in a row. It is awarded to an active duty Airman who distinguishes himself through outstanding contributions to the U.S. Air Force rescue mission.

One of the missions that stick out most in Captain Snyder's memory is a medical evacuation he flew while deployed to a forward operating base in Afghanistan, he said.

While piloting his HH-60G, Captain Snyder fought harsh elements and successfully landed his aircraft in zero visibility "brown out" conditions to recover eight injured soldiers.

"We loaded all eight evacuees at once because of the threat in the area," he said. "While leaving the landing zone, we were engaged by multiple rocket propelled grenades."

Captain Snyder quickly pointed out that he can't take all of the credit for missions he flew this year.

"The operations we execute are team-oriented and highly choreographed," said Captain Snyder. "I've been fortunate enough to have worked with an extremely talented crew who made these missions a success."

Captain Snyder's first operational assignment was flying UH-1N Hueys at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. He transferred to Moody in 2004 and began flying the HH-60G for the rescue community.

"I decided to transition from the Huey to the Pave Hawk specifically for the rescue mission," said Captain Snyder. "I have absolutely no regrets; I love this mission and this aircraft."

The Kight award is named after Brig. Gen. Richard T. Kight, commander of the U.S. Air Force rescue service from 1946-1952, who was considered the "father of air rescue."

The ARA brings together members of the Air Force rescue community once a year for an awards banquet where they present the Kight award to an outstanding Airman.

Lt. Col. Billy Thompson, 347th Rescue Group deputy commander, traveled to the Galt House Hotel in Louisville, Ken., Sept. 22 to accept Captain Snyder's award due to his current deployment.

"I took great pleasure in accepting Captain Snyder's award," said Colonel Thompson. "Just being part of a group that has such exemplary Airmen as Captain Snyder makes me proud."

Capt. Snyder also felt pride for earning such a high honor but feels his work in the rescue community is far from finished, he said.

"I was initially surprised and then humbled to be the 2007 Kight award winner," said Captain Snyder. "I'll continue to do my best to uphold the high standards of our rescue community."