DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
One of Dyess’ own was selected as the 2017 Gen. Robert “Dutch” Huyser award recipient in the pilot category.
Capt. Greg King, 317th Operations Support Squadron group tactician and C-130J Super Hercules pilot, won the award at the Air Force level for his outstanding proficiency and performance of air mobility flight duties and other accomplishments. The award is named after Huyser, a command pilot who served during World War II, the Vietnam War and Korean War flying more than 9,000 hours on various aircraft. The award is also open to every major command and service component.
One of King's achievements that led to receiving the award were from leading an aeromedical evacuation where an infant was in critical condition and had to be airlifted to medical care resulting in saving the child’s life. He flew an aeromedical evacuation crew and doctors who were with the child from Birmingham, Ala. to Baltimore in November 2016.
There were some challenges as the infant was in an incubator with many tubes, while on the C-130.
“The C-130 is not designed for comfort,” King said. “I had to think far ahead of the aircraft to handle it as smooth as possible. I couldn’t be expeditious with power, and I had to fly with auto-pilot off. The auto-pilot is very aggressive and was not conducive to a smooth ride for the baby. ”
During King’s first deployment as a pilot, he was part of the aircrew who successfully evacuated 29 personnel from the U.S. Embassy in South Sudan in July 2016.
The mission fell under Operation New Normal, a presidential-directed mandate which provides aid to U.S. embassies abroad. The call to help the U.S. Embassy in South Sudan occurred July 12, 2016. The U.S. ambassador to South Sudan forewarned former president, Barack Obama of the unrest in the region.
The mission planning occurred about twelve hours before the aircrew were to be sent. The alert trickled down to the crisis response force at Ramstein Air Base, Germany and the C-130J Super Hercules aircrew at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Africa. King was the copilot under the aircraft commander, along with two loadmasters, on the second C-130J out of three sent to South Sudan. They just finished flying their normal missions when they were put in alert status, because of a civil war outbreak in the country. They got as far as loading the crisis response force when they were told there was too much of a risk involved with the mission. The mission was terminated that night; however, the next day, they were clear to proceed with the operation.
“We didn’t really know any details because it was so fast paced,” King said. “An initial plan was made, but it kept constantly changing due to more relevant and pertinent information. We got as much information as we could about where we were going, exactly what we were doing on the ground, who we were picking up or dropping off and the threat environment.”
There were no injuries he recalled. He called his role the aircraft commander’s ‘sanity check’ simply by providing support and guidance when needed. They landed safely in Uganda, which is about a 45-minute flight from South Sudan.
Some of the other accolades that contributed to achieving the award included contributing to 75 Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa sorties resulting in 458 tons of cargo airlifted and 585 passengers transported.
He was also a part of the Hurricane Irma relief mission throughout the Caribbean and Central America.
“When we arrived to St. Martin, it was very sad to see all of the destruction,” King said. “When we went to Puerto Rico, also during the Irma relief, many people came up to us crying and thanking us for bringing supplies. It was a very humbling experience.”
“If I was able to fly to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, then that would’ve made my whole career.” King said.
King followed in his father’s footsteps becoming a pilot. He served in the U.S. Navy for 21 years and retired as a commander. Out of the nine different aircraft he flew, one of them was a legacy C-130 during the 1970s.
“The fact that I fly one of the aircraft my dad flew is very rewarding,” King said. “My family is very proud.”