MACKAY TROPHY

     The crew of TRAIN 60, Senior Master Sergeant John J. Spillane IV, Major Michael Frame, Major Brian Lewis, Master Sergeant Tommy Lee, Technical Sergeant Corey Turner received the MacKay trophy for the most meritorious Air Force flight of 2005. The crew of very experienced instructors were called to act as United States observers on the first official "Iraqi 1" flight, transporting the Iraqi prime minister to meet with Kurdish leaders to discuss the future of Iraq. Shortly after take-off the Iraqi crew experienced rapidly deteriorating weather prompting the Air Force crew members to take a more active role in the mission. The Navigator identified a new lower level route that would avoid the enroute mountains, the pilot informed command and control and took over flying on the more technical portions of the new route, the Loadmasters ensured the prime minister and his staff were safe/secured and fully informed of the situation.  Upon arrival at the Kurdish airport, the crew suddenly realized that it was impossible to land on the runway due to construction.  To further complicate matters, the control tower was empty, there were no American security personnel on station and many of the observed personnel on the ground were heavily armed.  After fly-bys to observe conditions, a short discussion lead the Iraqi Prime minister to state, "If it is at all possible, we must land." At that time the American instructors took over all flight duties.  It was determined that the safest course of action would be to land on a small stretch of taxiway using "short field/assault landing procedures." After the crew secured the aircraft, Major Michael Frame made a text book approach and landing on the very narrow/short taxiway.   After the successful meeting that brought the new Iraqi government and the Kurdish representatives together after 25 years of turmoil and disagreements, the American crew members started the aircraft, made a short field take-off and then turned the aircraft back over to the all Iraqi aircrew for a successful return flight to Baghdad.   

 

     The Mackay Trophy is awarded yearly by the United States Air Force for the "most meritorious flight of the year" by an Air Force person, persons, or organization. The trophy is housed in the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum. The award is administered by the U.S. National Aeronautic Association.  

 

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