Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Air Force Hero MSgt Timothy A. Wilkinson

This is the second installment of Air Force hero’s on the blog. The modern Airman has a distinct lack of history knowledge, I was always amazed by the majority of the people I served with over the years who have no idea who Richard Bong or Joe McConnell was and who could have cared less, the history taught is just not very good. Because of my Marine Corps background I’m convinced that more than just a basic knowledge of your branch history is needed. You need to know where you have been and where you have come from to be able to take pride in yourself and your unit and go forward to make your own bit of history.

This bring us to today's installment, Msgt Timothy Wilkinson who served as a Pararescuemen. As a member of this elite Special Operations career field his extensive training allowed him to operate in the most arduous situations while maintaining his focus on his primary mission. Msgt Wilkinson was awarded the Air Force Cross for his heroic actions that occurred in Somalia during the Blackhawk Down incident.

Information via the Air University
As a 24TH Special Tactics Squadron Pararescueman in the vicinity of the Olympic Hotel, Mogadishu, Somalia, from 3 October1993 to 4 October 1993, in response to an incident in which a United States helicopter had been shot down by a rocket propelled grenade, Sergeant Wilkinson conducted a fast rope insertion into the crash site and came under extremely heavy enemy fire from three directions. In the initial rescue effort, he repeatedly exposed himself to intense small arms fire and grenades to clear debris, provide emergency medical treatment to the survivors, and extract dead and wounded members of the crew from the wreckage. On his own initiative, Sergeant Wilkinson broke cover on three separate occasions to locate and provide emergency medical treatment to three ranger casualties. In doing so, he ignored all concern for his personal safety to cross a 45 meter-wide open area blanketed with intense fire from small arms, and rocket propelled grenades. Sergeant Wilkinson's medical skills and uncommon valor saved the lives of multiple gravely wounded American soldiers in the longest sustained fire fight involving United States Combat Forces in over 20 years.

In addition to the above I understand that MSgt Wilkinson was himself wounded during the battle and actually started an I.V. on himself after the Rangers were evacuated.

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