France Gives U.S. Airman Legion d’Honneur Medal For Rescue

Posted: June 15, 2015 in Veterans

A United States airman who risked his life to save those of French counterparts was decorated with France’s top award, the Legion d’Honneur, on Monday, by French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian during a ceremony held at the Paris Air Show.

Gregory Swarz, a 26-year old staff sergeant, pulled four French airmen from the burning wreckage of a Greek F-16 jet on January 26, minutes after the tragic crash that killed 11 people at Albacete NATO Airbase in Spain with the help of four other U.S. airmen who were also decorated on Monday.

Nine French nationals and two Greeks were killed and 21 people injured shortly after the Greek fighter took off at a training center in Albacete, 260 km (160 miles) southeast of the capital Madrid.

Swarz said he did not hesitate when he realized some people could still be saved from the flames.

“I did not see the plane crash, I just heard an explosion of it, I just saw people running, I went around the plane and looked.


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