The Hugh Gordon-Burge Memorial Award

Awarded to a member or members of a crew whose outstanding behaviour and action contributed to the saving of their aircraft or passengers.

2021  Awarded to: Crew of 'TALON 42' - Maj Christopher Summerlin, Maj Thomas Klusker, Capt Timothy Bush, 1Lt Juan Hass, TSgt Gregory Seider, SSgt Adam Chudnofsky, SSgt Cera Wollgast, SrA Jonathan Cervantes

Crew Of Talon 42The crew of ‘Talon 42’ distinguished themselves by extraordinary achievement in support of ‘Op Inherent Resolve’ from 7 January 2020 to 8 January 2020. During this time, the aircrew of ‘Talon 42’ courageously operated their MC-130H in a degraded state to evacuate military personnel from a base in Iraq, before Iranian theatre ballistic missiles impact.

On the evening of 7 January, ‘Talon 42’ was one of six aircrews alerted to participate in the mass evacuation of an Iraqi air base, which was determined to be one of the primary targets of an Iranian missile attack. ‘Talon 42’ was airborne within 45 minutes from initial notification with an aircraft gross weight 10 thousand pounds heavier than the maximum recommended. They knew only to fly to the air base and rescue as many personnel as possible. Once airborne, the crew of ‘Talon 42’ successfully negotiated a critical time-saving route, reducing the evacuation timeline by 90 minutes, which would have put all aircraft involved on the ground at the Iraqi air base during missile impact.

While enroute to the air base, the MC- 130H aircraft experienced an entire loss of avionics and navigational capabilities due to complete computer failure within the aircraft. After handling initial actions for the emergency, the crew determined the extreme priority of the mission outweighed the technical order guidance which suggested mission termination. As a result, they accepted the risk associated with degraded aircraft systems and continued to the Iraqi air base. Upon landing at the Iraqi air base, the   crew of ‘Talon 42’ loaded 93 personnel and cargo, 37 more than technical guidance allows, which made fuel requirements more critical. After take-off, challenges further compounded when ‘Talon 42’s’ intended point of landing, Ali Al Salem Air Base, was reported to be under threat of imminent attack. With no aerial refuelling options available, ‘Talon 42 ’made the decision to immediately divert to Kuwait International Airport.

Enroute to Kuwait International, the crew of ‘Talon 42’ was forced to declare “due regard” as they were critically low on fuel and the approach controller would not expedite their landing clearance. After having safely landed and refuelled, ‘Talon 42’ was notified that Ali Al Salem was cleared of the missile threat. They then proceeded to Ali Al Salem to disembark the rescued personnel.

‘Talon 42’ completed this planned 16-hour mission in under 12 hours ensuring safety from imminent Iranian ballistic missile attack. Their quick thinking and superior airmanship resulted in the safety of a total of 101 Joint Special Operations Forces personnel during that period of darkness. The professional competence, aerial skill, and devotion to saving the lives of others displayed by ‘Talon 42’ is deserving of recognition by the award of the Hugh Gordon-Burge Memorial Award.

Previous Winners:

1974/75  G W Crawford Esq

1976 - 1978  not awarded

1978/79  Captain F H Benton

1980 - 1981  not awarded

1981/82  Captain E H J Moody

1983 - 1986  not awarded

1986/87  Captain Peter Saxton

1987/88 Captain Shornsteimer

1988/89  Captain Dave Cronin

1989/90  FO A Atchinson Purser J Heward Stewardess S Prince Steward N Ogden Steward S Rodgers

1990/91  Captain Alfred L Haynes

1992  not awarded

1992/93  Captain I Berglund FO M Emery Flt. Engineer T N Boone

1994  not awarded

1994/95  Flt Lt A J Stacey AFC RAF

1995/96  Crew of G-TIGK - Captain C J Roberts Senior First Oficer L J Sole

1996/97  Captain Leul Abate

1998  not awarded

1998/99  Flt Lt Geoffrey Sheppard AFC and Flt Lt Ian Brosch MA BSc

2000  not awarded

2000/01  Captain Bill Hagan and SFO Philip Watson

2002  not awarded

2002/03  Lt Cdr Neale Hargreaves MBE - Mission Commander of Dolphin 43

2003/04  Captain Eric Gennotte, FO Steeve Michielsen, FE Mario Rofail

2004/05  Captain Mark William Hoey

2005/06  Thierry Fautrel & Marie-Pascale Bulle of Air France AF 358 at Toronto Airport

2006/07  Kevin (George) Francis

2008  not awarded

2008/09 Ultimate 21 Flight in Afghanistan

2009/10  Flt Lt Alex Townsend RAF

2010/11  Crew of Flight QF 032 (AIRBUS 380 VH-OQA)

2011/12  Flt Lt N McCready BEng RAF and Flt Lt L D Flemington DFC MSc BAv RAF

2012/13  Lt Bryan Peterson USN

2013/14  Captain Malcolm Waters and First Officer David Hayhoe

2014/15  "Ugly 52" - Maj Nicholas George English AAC and Capt Charles William Russell AAC

2016  Captain Richard Alvarez

2017  Flt Lt Karl A Kinsler RAF

2018  Flt Lt Ben Wallis AFC RAF

2019  not awarded

2020 Flt Lt Paul Medford RAF

2021  Crew of TALON 42