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Maj. William Mendel, 20th Special Operations Squadron, stands at attention in front of a crowd attending his Distinguished Flying Cross ceremony at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., May 15, 2017. Mendel’s aircraft, along with other aircraft in his formation, received heavy and effective hostile fire during a mission in Africa. Despite the significant damage to the aircraft, Mendel managed to complete the mission and save the lives of four critically wounded individuals onboard. He and other crew members were presented the Distinguished Flying Cross, a medal created in 1918 to reward those who display heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight. Mendel became the 79th Airman under Air Force Special Operations Command to receive the honor. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Lane T. Plummer)
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