For Extraordinary Aerial Achievement

A press release by Capt. Jennifer Proctor of the 138th Fighter Wing has announced that Lt Col. Michael Coloney was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for Valor for a mission he flew in support of Special Operations Forces in April of 2018.

Coloney had deployed to Afghanistan in 2018 with the 125th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, flying the F-16 Fighting Falcon. On April 30th of that year, Coloney was in the air performing his assigned air operations mission when he received a tasking order to support a Special Operations Forces unit embedded with Afghan Army troops clearing a village in the Kapisa province.  This unit had come under attack by 80 Taliban armed with small arms, RPGs, and grenades.

This unit had taken eleven casualties with one killed in action.

For the next five hours, Lt Col. Coloney stayed over the target, and working with a Combat Controller on the ground employed GPS-guided bombs, and conducted high-angle strafing runs on enemy positions that at times were just thirty meters from friendly troops.

His accuracy and dogged persistence in engaging these enemy forces allowed the friendly unit on the ground to break contact with the enemy and evacuate their wounded without further loss of life.

As the press release stated,  “The Distinguished Flying Cross is awarded to an officer or enlisted person of the armed forces of the U.S. for heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight. The heroism or achievement must be entirely distinctive, involving operations that are not routine. It is the fourth-highest award for heroism and is the highest award given for extraordinary aerial achievement.”

A Georgia native, Lt Col. Coloney joined the Oklahoma Air National Guard in October 2005 and is a third-generation fighter pilot.  At the 125th Fighter Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, he serves as Director of Operations.