USAF Staff Sgt. Bill Cenna had a pretty good year. Not only did he face the -40 degree temperatures of Mt. Mckinley, or Denali, as it’s known to Alaskans, he was recently awarded the Silver Star and two Bronze Stars for valor in combat in Afghanistan. These awards were from 3 engagements with the enemy during two separate deployments. From the Air Force article:
Although he insists any pararescueman would have been equally valiant, Cenna admits that the situation during which he earned the Silver Star was special. He and a team of fellow PJs were sent in to recover a pair of OH-58 Kiowa Warrior helicopter pilots who had crashed in the mountains of Afghanistan. After recovering one of the two pilots, Cenna and a teammate were dropped close to the crash site to contract the second, who they soon would learn had died from his injuries. Enemy combatants’ gunfire then forced the recovery helicopter to retreat, and the two of them, with the assistance of friendly combat aircraft, were forced to fight off enemy combatants for more than five hours while protecting the remains of the pilot and maintaining the integrity of the crash site.
“There were a lot of close calls. It was a mix of skill and luck that we’re still alive,” Cenna said. “There were times when we would have to take cover and use our overhead air support in the fight. As aircraft were flying over, the brass [from the rounds they were firing] was landing right next to us. It was raining brass.”
Cenna and his fellow pararescueman were eventually able to outlast the enemy and successfully recover the remains of the American pilot and others who did not survive the battle. He said the key to their survival was to remember their training.
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212th is always busy... http://www.adn.com/2013/08/17/3030046/national-guard-pilot-medic-recount.html
I thank God for the examples that warriors like Staff Sgt. Bill Cenna sets for all citizens, but especially our young adults! This warrior has left his mark that will be an eternal example of excellence and heroism. My heart is glad and knowing no matter how tough life gets, you must never quit even when you must stand alone, in strong faith, overcoming fear and facing incredible odds. I have not been tested like he has, but I know my faith in God, training, and knowledge of the sacrifices of brothers past will be the key to doing the right thing no matter the outcome. Job well done Staff Sgt Cenna! Men of your strong character and tested temper are becoming increasingly rare. Along with the stories of heroes past and present that I have passed on to my warrior sons, I am passing your story as well! "There are guys who have done more and received less," Cenna said humbly. "There are plenty of guys in this building [the 212th RQS] that have gone to war many more times than I have and done a lot more for the team and for the United States than I have." Although in my opinion, true heroes do not like to be called heroes and many do not feel they did anything extraordinary, their actions reflect the highest standard of what a man should strive to be. Thank you for being on the cutting edge of our armed forces! I am a proud father of two sons, a daughter and son-in law that are setting the example in the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines! Sorry Coast Guard, but I ran out of warriors;)
Thank you for sharing info about this hero! It's somehow comforting to know they are out there in a world that seems to have gone mad.
it's nice to see a Monday morning,,feel good story. nice work SSGT,,you are an inspiration for all.