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Michigan Air Guard pilot awarded Distinguished Flying Cross

Capt. Brett DeVries, an A-10 Thunderbolt II pilot of the 107th Fighter Squadron from Selfridge Air National Guard Base, next to the aircraft he safely landed after a malfunction forced him to make an emergency landing July 20, 2017, at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center. For his efforts, DeVries was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross Nov. 6, 2020.

Capt. Brett DeVries, an A-10 Thunderbolt II pilot of the 107th Fighter Squadron from Selfridge Air National Guard Base, next to the aircraft he safely landed after a malfunction forced him to make an emergency landing July 20, 2017, at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center. For his efforts, DeVries was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross Nov. 6, 2020.

Capt. Brett DeVries, right, and his wingman, Maj. Shannon Vickers, both A-10 Thunderbolt II pilots of the 107th Fighter Squadron from Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich. Vickers helped DeVries safely make an emergency landing July 20, 2017, at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center.

Capt. Brett DeVries, right, and his wingman, Maj. Shannon Vickers, both A-10 Thunderbolt II pilots of the 107th Fighter Squadron from Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich. Vickers helped DeVries safely make an emergency landing July 20, 2017, at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center.

SELFRIDGE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mich. – Air Force Secretary Barbara M. Barrett presented Maj. Brett DeVries, a pilot with the 107th Fighter Squadron, the Distinguished Flying Cross Nov. 6 for extraordinary flight achievement.

“The Distinguished Flying Cross is America’s oldest military aviation decoration,” Barrett said. “Awarded for heroism or extraordinary achievement that is, ‘entirely distinctive, involving operations that are not routine,’ today, Major DeVries, you will join the ranks of some other American heroes.”

The training flight narrowly avoided catastrophe on July 20, 2017, when DeVries successfully landed his A-10 Thunderbolt II with neither a canopy nor fully engaged landing gear.

“Major DeVries truly put service before self and demonstrated a level of Airmanship to which we should all aspire,” Brig. Gen. Rolf E. Mammen, commander of the 127th Wing, said during the ceremony.

The first award of the Distinguished Flying Cross was made to 10 Army Air Corps aviators for participation in the Army Pan American Flight, officially awarded May 2, 1927. The first presentation of the award was on June 11, 1927, when President Calvin Coolidge honored Charles Lindbergh for his first transatlantic solo flight.

While DeVries was flying the A-10 during the emergency, he relied heavily on his wingman, then-Maj. Shannon Vickers, and the maintenance team back at Selfridge. Mammen said DeVries had the entire Wing standing behind him.

“As a commander, I cannot tell you how proud I am of Major DeVries and our entire 127th Wing, who work so hard every day to ensure that we are ready to fly, fight and win,” Mammen said.

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