Two Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II pilots – Lt. Col. Tony “Crack” Roe and Maj. John “Sapper” Tice – were awarded Distinguished Flying Cross medals for their actions while deployed to Afghanistan more than a decade ago. The ceremony took place Nov. 26 at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., where the two serve with the 303rd Fighter Squadron. Tice received the honor – his third such medal – in recognition of a mission he flew out of Kandahar Air Base, Afghanistan, on Dec. 2, 2010. Roe and another A-10 pilot, Capt. Michael “Bals” Stock, were assigned to provide close-air support for Army Special Forces teams who were protecting combat engineers who were building a bridge. When Tice noticed a Taliban scout in the area, he notified a terminal attack controller who in turn told the Special Forces members. The soldiers quelled the potential threat.
Soon afterward, though, the soldiers came under attack from Taliban fighters. When Tice saw this happening, he descended upon the enemy as they fired at him with small arms. He is credited with eliminating 32 enemy fighters, while no friendly forces sustained any casualties.
Roe earned his award on June 5, 2008, while flying a mission out of Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, in support of a resupply convoy as it moved through mountainous terrain. After determining that the convoy had encountered attackers who had disabled three vehicles, Roe began providing emergency close-air support to friendly troops on the ground. In a fierce, hourlong firefight, Roe managed to deliver “precise, timely and accurate firepower” that “saved the lives” of 16 soldiers – who had been down to their last clip of ammunition before his arrival. Two of those soldiers – members of the Kentucky Army National Guard 201st Engineering Brigade – were present at Whiteman as Roe received his medal.