Three Marines at Camp Lejeune have been awarded the Air Medal for successfully carrying out a rescue mission in Libya. Military officials awarded the distinguished medals yesterday to Capt. Erik Kolle, Staff Sgt. David Potter, and Sgt. Daniel Howington. The three men rescued a downed pilot near Benghazi during the Libyan civil war in March of 2011. First Lieutenant Robert Martins says the crew traveled 150 miles in less than an hour to rendezvous with the pilot.
Lt. Robert Martins: "What they did say is as soon as they landed to pick him up and put him in the aircraft, he didn't say anything. He just had a big smile on his face. Even then, there's still the possibility of threat, but they picked him up and brought him back to the ship where he was tended to and thankfully in good condition, but once they got wheels on deck back on the boat is when they all took a deep breath."
Martins says the military believes the pilot was evading Col. Gaddafi's forces and possibly minutes away from being captured.