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Hero Pilot Gets Shot but Continues Flying

Active Military
Active Military
August 16, 2017
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You probably haven't heard this story, but you should. A 2014 Delta Force ground raid in Syria to save American hostages became the site of amazing heroism displayed by one Army helicopter pilot who continued to fly in support of the mission literally hours after being wounded!Chief Warrant Officer 4 Michael Siler was the hero pilot. He was piloting an MH-60L Direct Action Penetrator helicopter in a classified nighttime mission with the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta. Siler received a Silver Star and Purple Heart for combat wounds a few weeks after the operation.The mission, which deployed Delta Force into Syria with 'zero illumination' was an effort to secure Americans that were being held by ISIS. In what can only be considered a very complicated operation, Siler piloted one of the several crafts that were providing air support for two dozen Delta operators who had been dropped at an oil refinery at Raqqa.During the initial assault, Siler was shot in his right leg according to several reports. Blood loss, the pain of a shattered limb and the weight of piloting a mission of this importance are a lot to carry, but the sheer mechanics of it are beyond impressive. They would make it nearly impossible for anyone to use the foot pedals necessary to control the YAW of the aircraft, but Siler remained a pivotal element of the mission for five hours after being shot, where he navigated, helped direct fire and supported his crew while tending to his wounds.[caption id="attachment_13053" align="aligncenter" width="904"]

A soldier assigned to the Army’s 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1st SFOD-D), more commonly known as Delta Force. (Photo via DoD)[/caption]Unfortunately, the Americans they were looking for, James Foley, Steven Sotloff, and other hostages, who were believed to be held at that location were no longer on site. Ground operators were met with ISIS fighters. According to a report published in The New Yorker, two of the ISIS fighters were dispatched quickly.The raid was not a success in bringing home US hostages but is significant because it is the first time the US government openly acknowledged that troops had been sent inside Syria since the war began in 2012, as reported in the New York Times Times.According to Lisa Monaco, Obama’s counter terrorism adviser, "The U.S. government had what we believed was sufficient intelligence, and when the opportunity presented itself, the president authorized the Department of Defense to move aggressively to recover our citizens."This mission was more than likely released to the media so soon after as a result of ISIS video of the beheading of one of the hostages a month later on August 20, 2014. Mohammed Emwazi, the masked man in said ISIS video release, who had performed many executions like this before and after this one, was killed in a drone strike that happened on Nov. 2015.Michael Siler, now a Chief Warrant Officer-5, is still with the 160th at Fort Campbell, Kentucky and was recognized as the Army Aviator of the Year in 2014.Read more military articles here.

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