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Kirtland Pilots Awarded Air Force Medals

Two Air Force helicopter pilots based at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque are being awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross Friday for heroic actions in combat in Afghanistan.

Capt. Marcus Maris earned his medal while piloting an HH-60 Pave Hawk on Nov. 14, 2010. He was evacuating wounded soldiers whose unit was pinned down when his helicopter began taking machine gun and rocket fire. He stayed in a hover to lower his medic, then returned to pick up the wounded.

Capt. Christopher Palmer was flying a Pave Hawk on two evacuation missions in November 2010 when he came under attack. On one mission, a crewman was wounded and his primary flight controls damaged, but he returned in the damaged craft after getting a replacement for the wounded airman.

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