Friday, February 11, 2011

CIA Intelligence Star for A-12 pilots

Extracted from this article, which serves as a great recap of Project OXCART at Groom Lake and its operational phase, Operation BLACKSHIELD at Kadena. 
On 26 June, the A-12 operational pilots—Ken Collins, Jack Layton, Frank Murray, Dennis Sullivan, Mele Vojvodich, and Jack Weeks (posthumously)—were awarded the CIA Intelligence Star for valor. Other members of the 1129th SAS, nicknamed the Roadrunners, received awards as well. The unit’s commander, Col. Slater, and his deputy, Col. Maynard “Am” Amundson, were given the Air Force Legion of Merit, and the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award was presented to all the detachment’s members.

The Intelligence Star is an award given by the Central Intelligence Agency for a "voluntary act or acts of courage performed under hazardous conditions or for outstanding achievements or services rendered with distinction under conditions of grave risk." The award citation is from the Director of Central Intelligence and specifically cites actions of "extraordinary heroism". This is the second highest award for valor in the Central Intelligence Agency, after the Distinguished Intelligence Cross. It is analogous to the Silver Star, the U.S. military award for extraordinary heroism. Having six members of a project receive this award is a high water mark that few, if any, of our agencies and branches of service, can match. We can be very proud of our legacy. 
If you are fond of A-12 video, here's one recently released and posted on YouTube.  
(Email readers, the video is embedded in this post)
Contributed by
Thornton D. (TD) Barnes
Roadrunners Internationale

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