Inside the Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 369 hanger is an honor roll, a wall covered with patches of distinguished Marines who have done outstanding work. Staff Sgt. Bart C. Davis’ patch was elevated to the honor roll after he received the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism.
On June 18, 2010, Davis was the crew chief in the lead helicopter rushing to aid Marine ground forces in Helmand Province, Afghanistan who needed supplies and ammunition to continue fighting an intense battle. He guided the helicopter’s safe descent to the landing zone and supervised the offloading of ammunition and supplies while he was continuously exposed to intense fire from enemy rifles, machine guns, and rocket propelled grenades.
While lifting out of the zone, Davis spotted enemy locations and provided suppressive fire with a .50 caliber machine gun. In the ensuing firefight the pilot in command received multiple gunshot wounds from enemy fire. Davis removed the injured pilot from the controls and administered first aid. All the while, Davis remained calm and collected as he continued to direct the crew and aid the co-pilot.
Because of his actions, the resupply mission and the ground forces were successful; the helicopter crew made a safe landing at Camp Bastion and the pilot survived.
MARINES: Why did you decide to join the Marine Corps?
Joining the Marines was my patriotic duty, and I couldn’t afford college.
What mission were you engaged in when you received the Distinguished Flying Cross?
Our aircraft was sent to resupply Marines from the Corps’ Special Operations Command south of Sangin, Afghanistan.
What were you delivering to the Marines in the fight?
We were bringing them loose and linked 5.56mm and 7.62mm ammunition, Rifle Propelled Grenades, C-4 explosives, and water.
What was happening when you arrived on the scene?
The unit was pinned down by enemy fire and was low on ammo and water. The helicopter was completely packed with supplies from wall to wall — there wasn’t any room inside to move around. We spent about a minute and a half unloading all the supplies on the ground while Marines up on a nearby roof provided suppressive fire. Overall, the Marines on the ground took out 63 insurgents, not including the ones I took out; two improvised explosive device facilities and one heroine facility. The Marines had no casualties.
Did previous missions and training prepare you for this?
Similar scenarios have popped up in training and combat missions, but this time was completely different. There was little time to think and react to the situation on the ground. We had a fifteen-minute flight to the drop zone to prepare ourselves, knowing that we were flying into enemy contact.
What went through your mind when you realized the pilot in command, Maj. Tres C. Smith, had been shot?
I was suppressing the enemy with the .50 caliber machine gun. At the time, it didn’t register with me until he said he was hit a second time. That’s when I began first aid.
How did you feel when you were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross?
I was honored to be on the same platform as Maj. Tres C. Smith, and to receive the award in front of the gunfighters was humbling.
Did you ever think twice about your actions during the mission?
I didn’t have enough time as I was engaging the enemy and helping the wounded pilot.
Being a successful Marine, what advice would you offer new and upcoming Marines?
Be prepared for any situation. You never know what might pop up.
What’s your favorite type of aircraft?
That is easy; I’m a skid-kid at heart. The Huey wins as the favorite.
Do you think you can pilot a helicopter if needed?
I could fly it to the scene of the crash.
Who are your heroes?
My heroes are Gunnery Sgt. Christophe E. Slaven, Master Sgt. Kenneth E. Kampen, retired Master Gunnery Sgt. Danny L. Radish, Sgt. Maj. Berry and John Davis.
Who is your favorite Superhero? The Juggernaut.
What’s your favorite movie? Blood Sport.
What is your favorite MRE? The #13 Cheese Tortellini.
What music do you work out to?
I get pumped to anything with a lot of yelling.
What do you do to relax? I ride my Harley everywhere.
How has receiving the medal impacted your career?
It hasn’t, I still have to prove myself every day I go into work.
Orig story here: http://marinesmagazine.dodlive.mil/2012/01/04/staff-sgt-bart-c-davis/