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Julia A. Bringloe


Distinguished Flying Cross

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Awarded for actions during the Global War on Terror

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 2, 1926, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Sergeant Julia A. Bringloe, United States Army, for exceptionally valorous achievement while assigned to Charlie Company, 3d Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment, Task Force PHOENIX, during Operation ENDURING FREEDOM XI. Her heroic actions as an air ambulance flight medic while in support of Operation HAMMER DOWN in Afghanistan's Watahpor Valley from 25 June to 27 June 2011 resulted in the evacuation and treatment of eleven wounded soldiers while under constant enemy fire and contributed to the overwhelming success of the Command's mission. Her bravery is in keeping with the finest traditions of military heroism and reflects distinct credit upon herself, Task Force PHOENIX, Task Force FALCON, Combined Joint Task Force-1 and the United States Army.NARRATIVE TO ACCOMPANY AWARD:Sergeant Julia Bringloe, United States Army, distinguished herself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action in the face of the enemy of the United States as an Air Ambulance Flight Medic with Charlie Company, Task Force PHOENIX, FOB FENTY, from 25 June to 27 June 2011 in support of OPERATION ENDURINGING FREEDOM (OEF) XI. During Operation HAMMER DOWN, Sergeant Bringloe and her crew of Dustoff 73 provided direct medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) support to Task Force BRONCO in Afghanistan's forbidding Watahpor Valley. Throughout the multi-day operation, Sergeant Bringloe repeatedly faced a disciplined enemy determined to engage her and her crew in the most extreme, high altitude mountain environment in order to conduct life saving evacuations of eleven soldiers. No matter how minor or severe the injury, each casualty was absolutely debilitating to the freedom of maneuver of the Task Force BRONCO soldiers, making them a stationary target to a lethal enemy. Sergeant Bringloe and her Dustoff crew were the only assets which could overcome these challenges to extract the wounded soldiers. She constantly exposed herself to enemy fire by guiding her medical aircraft into the most confined spaces conducting one-wheel landings on qalat roof tops, or by riding the extremely vulnerable hoist to her patients below from hover altitudes as high as 150 feet. At one location where there were several wounded soldiers located inside a qalat, her sister ship Dustoff 72 received such heavy enemy fire in attempting to evacuate, that they were forced to return to FOB BENTY for an emergency landing due to a critical loss in hydraulic components. This did not stop Sergeant Bringloe or her crew from pressing on to retrieve the wounded soldiers from the qatar. Using the cover of darkness and suppression fires from overhead Apache support and the troops on the ground, she was able to expertly guide her crew onto the roof top surrounded by trees to evacuate three wounded soldiers. With an extremely dark, no moon night, they received constant fire from the surrounding enemy shooting to the sound of their hovering aircraft. During this tremendously demanding maneuver, the Apache aircraft provided continuous suppression fires within 100 meters of their location. Once the wounded were on board, Sergeant Bringloe immediately began treatment of the soldiers while they rushed them to FOB WRIGHT. One of the soldiers had received a life threatening gunshot wound to his face. Without the crew's daring rescue or Sergeant Bringloe's medical treatment en route to the Forward Surgical Team, the soldier would not have survived much longer on the mountain. Sergeant Bringloe later found herself returning to the same qalat to retrieve an Afghan soldier who had been killed in action. At this point, the ground element had been stuck in the same location for almost 48 hours due to the constant enemy fire and casualties they had received. Due to the extremely confined area, Sergeant Bringloe and her crew decided to hoist the Afghan Hero out. She again exposed herself to the enemy while riding the hoist, lowering to the embattled qalat and packaging the fallen soldier into a Skedco. Once ready, she remained out in the open manning the tag line ensuring the Afghan Hero made it up to the hovering aircraft while the ground forces provided security. With the fallen soldier on board, her crew immediately returned the jungle penetrator (JP) to her for her own extraction. As soon as she began securing herself to the JP, the encircled enemy opened fire on her with a fierce determination to take her out. Despite the chaos around her, she didn't hesitate in her job, securing herself and instructing her crew to continue with her own extraction, ultimately hoisting her away giving the ground forces the freedom to move and engage the surrounding enemy. In her final mission of Operation HAMMER DOWN, Sergeant Bringloe and her crew faced inclimate weather to extract a soldier suffering from a shrapnel wound that had become infected. In addition to the casualty, the unit on the ground was critically low on food, water, and medical supplies. With cloud cover coming in all around the mountain location at 10,000 feet, she and her crew were able to navigate into the area and begin another hoist operation. Once again, she fearlessly lowered herself to the ground despite the dangerous weather situation. While she readied the patient for extraction, her crew chief lowered the vital supplies to the waiting troops below. When she was ready and secure, Sergeant Bringloe looked up and saw the clouds slowly engulfing her aircraft above. She immediately signaled her crew chief to begin raising the hoist to get them away from the ground. While Sergeant Bringloe and her patient were still 10 feet below the aircraft on the hoist line, the Dustoff aircraft was finally swallowed by the cloud cover and the crew committed to instrument flight as the crew chief continued to cable Sergeant Bringloe and her patient up, ultimately getting them safely into the aircraft. The crew successfully conducted inadvertent IMC procedures despite the surrounding mountain terrain. They eventually broke out of the clouds and were able to recover to FOB WRIGHT, delivering the patient to much needed higher care. Throughout Operation HAMMER DOWN, Sergeant Bringloe and her Dustoff crew conducted continuous turns into the Watahpor Valley, evacuating a total of 11 wounded American Soldiers. Despite an unwavering and lethal enemy, challenging night operations in confined areas, and a constant deteriorating weather situation, she provided desperately needed food, water, and medical re-supply and extracted two Afghan soldiers killed in action (KIA). Her determination to perform in such exhausting conditions over three days was nothing short of remarkable. These contributions gave the ground force commanders freedom of maneuver which unquestionably contributed to the overwhelming success of the command's mission. Sergeant Bringloe's heroic actions were a critical part in the success of Task Force BRONCO and Operation HAMMER DOWN. As a result of her abilities as an Air Ambulance Flight Medic and courageous disregard for her own safety, Sergeant Bringloe demonstrated her superior skills and bravery as a flight medic few others could replicate, all while under the most extreme of situations. Her selfless courage demonstrated by putting the lives of others above her own are beyond reproach. Sergeant Bringloe's actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of military heroism and reflect distinct credit upon herself, this Command, and the United States Army.

Action Date: June 25 - 27, 2011

Service: Army

Rank: Sergeant

Company: Company C

Battalion: 3d Battalion

Regiment: 10th Aviation Regiment