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eMedals-United States. An AFC & DFC Pair to the Most Decorated Enlisted Man in Air Force History

Item: W5487

United States. An AFC & DFC Pair to the Most Decorated Enlisted Man in Air Force History

Sale Date: November 30, 2019 Hammer Price

$1,356

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United States. An AFC & DFC Pair to the Most Decorated Enlisted Man in Air Force History

 An AFC & DFC Pair to the Most Decorated Enlisted Man in Air Force History; Pararescueman, Airman Second Class (later Chief Master Sergeant) Duane D. Hackney, United States Air Force ; The medals were originally acquired from the recipient's family. Air Force Cross (two-piece construction, in bronze gilt with green enamels, engraved "DUANE D. THACKNEY" on the reverse, measuring 48 mm (w) x 56 mm (h) inclusive of its laterally-pierced ball suspension, original ribbon with brooch pinback); and Distinguish Flying Cross (in bronze gilt, engraved "DUANE D. THACKNEY" on the reverse, measuring 43.8 mm (w) x 49.5 mm (h) inclusive of its integral ring suspension, three oak leaf clusters on its original ribbon with brooch pinback). Spelling of his surname is engraved incorrectly on both awards ("Thackney", should be "Hackney"). Extremely fine.
 
Footnote: Duane D. Hackney was born on June 5, 1947, in Flint, Genesse County, Michigan and graduated from Beecher High School in 1965. He enlisted with the United States Air Force for service in the Vietnam War, on June 18, 1965, at the age of 18, and was trained as a Pararescue Specialist. Three days after reporting for duty in Vietnam, Hackney flew his first combat mission. Somewhere on that mission, a .30-caliber slug buried itself in his leg. To avoid being grounded by the medics, he had one of his PJ friends remove the slug with a probe. That incident set the tone for the more than two hundred combat missions he was to fly during his three and a half years of Vietnam duty, all as a volunteer. Five times in the months ahead, his helicopter was shot down. He didn't recall how often he went down into the jungle looking for survivors or how many lives his medical training helped him save. As he became a legend in the rescue world, he earned four Distinguished Flying Crosses, not for flying a certain number of missions but for specific acts of heroism, and eighteen Air Medals, many for single acts of valor. Hackney's most celebrated mission was on February 6, 1967, when two HH-3 helicopters, Jolly Green 05 and Jolly Green 36, launched from the 37th ARRS at Da Nang Air Base, Republic of Vietnam. They were attempting the recovery of a downed O-1F pilot, Nail 65, near the Mu Gia Pass, North Vietnam. After Airman Hackney made one unsuccessful trip to the ground in search of the pilot, both Jollys returned to base due to foul weather. Later in the day, the helicopters launched again and located the survivor. Airman Hackney was lowered to the ground, and after securing the survivor into the Stokes litter, both were lifted out. No sooner did they reach Jolly 05's door when ground fire erupted. As they raced to exit the area, the helicopter was hit with a 37 mm anti-aircraft round and caught fire. With complete disregard for his own welfare, Airman Hackney removed his parachute and placed it on the survivor. He lunged to grab another one from storage as the helicopter, a growing, blazing fireball, arched across the sky. In an instant, it exploded, just as Airman Hackney slipped his arms through the harness. He was blown out of Jolly 05 by the explosion. Dangling from the harness, he managed to pull the ripcord and the chute opened just as he hit the trees, where he plunged a further eighty feet and came to rest on a ledge in a crevasse. He narrowly avoided capture while enemy troops jumped across the crevasse, mere feet above. Jolly 36 immediately made a run in to locate any survivors, and, when it arrived, found only burning wreckage...and Duane Hackney waving his arms for pickup. Major Patrick Wood was Air Craft commander of Airman Hackney's rescue helicopter, "Jolly Green 05" (65-12779). He and Co-Pilot Richard A. Kibbey and Helicopter Mechanic Donald J. Hall were all killed. Hackney was the only survivor. Pararescueman, Airman Second Class Duane D. Hackney, 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron was awarded the Air Force Cross on September 9, 1967 for actions that day, his citation stating: "The President of the United States of America, authorized by Title 10, Section 8742, United States Code, takes pleasure in presenting the Air Force Cross to Airman Second Class Duane D. Hackney (AFSN: 16827003), United States Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in military operations against an opposing armed force while serving with the 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, 3d Air Rescue and Recovery Group, DaNang Air Base, Vietnam, as a Paramedic (Pararescueman) on an unarmed HH-3E Rescue Helicopter near Mu Gia Pass, North Vietnam, on 6 February 1967. On that date, Airman Hackney flew two sorties in a heavily defended hostile area. On the first sortie, despite the presence of armed forces known to be hostile, entrenched in the vicinity, Airman Hackney volunteered to be lowered into the jungle to search for the survivor. He searched until the controlling Search and Rescue agency ordered an evacuation of the rescue crew. On the second sortie, Airman Hackney located the downed pilot, who was hoisted into the helicopter.
 
As the rescue crew departed the area, intense and accurate 37-mm. flak tore into the helicopter amidships, causing extensive damage and a raging fire aboard the craft. With complete disregard for his own safety, Airman Hackney fitted his parachute to the rescued man. In this moment of impending disaster, Airman Hackney chose to place his responsibility to the survivor above his own life. The courageous Pararescueman located another parachute for himself and had just slipped his arms through the harness when a second 37-mm. round struck the crippled aircraft, sending it out of control. The force of the explosion blew Airman Hackneythrough the open cargo door and, though stunned, he managed to deploy the unbuckled parachute and make a successful landing. He was later recovered by a companion helicopter. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of hostile forces, Airman Hackney reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force." Duane Hackney became the first living enlisted Airman to receive the Air Force Cross, and at the time of its award, he was its youngest recipient. Major Wood also received the Air Force Cross (Posthumously) for this mission. Hackney went on to receive more than seventy individual awards becoming the most decorated enlisted man in Air Force history. Upon his return from Vietnam in 1967, Hackney was deployed to the 41st Aerospace Rescue & Recovery Squadron (41st ARRS) at Hamilton Air Force Base, in Marin County, California, and was embraced as a hero. Hackney had a speaking part on an episode of "I Dream of Genie" and was interviewed on "The Ed Sullivan Show," "The Tonight Show," "The Joey Bishop Show" and even appeared as a bachelor on "The Dating Game." Technical Sergeant Hackney was later awarded the Cheney Award by the Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force, with he and his family flown to Washington, D.C. for the award ceremony. The Cheney Award is given annually to a member of USAF for an act of valor, extreme fortitude, or self-sacrifice in a humanitarian interest performed in conjunction with aircraft. He left active duty in 1973 but enlisted again four years later and returned to duty as a Pararescue Training Course Instructor. Hackney continued his pararescue career until a 1980 training accident grounded him, when he fell ninety feet while working on sheer ice on a mountain in Europe and suffered a heart attack in 1981. He married Carole Matlack in 1982, the couple having one child together. After twenty-six years service in the United States Air Force, Hackney retired in the rank of Chief Master Sergeant in 1991, to manage a security firm. He is still the most decorated enlisted man in Air Force history. Duane D. Hackney died from a heart attack on September 3, 1993 in Williamsport, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, at the age of 46 and is buried in Sunset Hills Cemetery in Flint, Genesee County, Michigan. In June, 2006, the training facility at Lackland Air Force Base near San Antonio, Texas was renamed the Hackney Training Complex. The facility has space to train up to 1,200 people, and a staff of 50. His widow, Carole Hackney Bergstrom, said about the dedication: "I just wish he could see this. I think he'd really be proud of what he did. He would tell you, 'All this stuff wasn't necessary. I was just doing my job.' " His story is also featured in Air Force training manuals. Duane Hackney was enshrined into the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame on April 18, 2009. In addition to the Air Force Cross and the Distinguished Flying Cross w/ Combat "V", he was awarded the Silver Star, the Airman's Medal, the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal (eighteen total awards), the Air Medal, the Commendation Medal, the Presidential Unit Citation, the Outstanding Unit Award w/ Combat "V", the Combat Readiness Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the Outstanding Airman of the Year Ribbon, the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Korea Defense Service Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal, the Air Force Overseas Short Tour Service Ribbon, the Air Force Overseas Long Tour Service Ribbon, the Air Force Longevity Service Award, the NCO PME Graduate Ribbon, the Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, the Air Force Training Ribbon, the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation, the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, the USAF Senior Enlisted Aircrew Badge and the Master Parachutist Badge

 

 
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