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Nicholas S. Smith


Distinguished Flying Cross

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The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Aviation Maintenance Technician Second Class Nicholas S. Smith, United States Coast Guard, for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight on 4 December 2007 as the flight Mechanic aboard Coast Guard Jayhawk helicopter CG-6022. With the Pacific Northwest in the throes of a tremendous storm marked by torrential rain and hurricane force winds, CG-6022 was launched just before midnight from Coast Guard Air Station Astoria, Oregon, in response to the unprecedented floods that were threatening hundreds of citizens of Chehalis, Washington. During this extraordinarily challenging inland search and rescue mission, Petty Officer Smith's aviation technical expertise and courage were instrumental in the successful completion of the mission. Battling flying debris, limited visibility, darkness and fatigue throughout the night, he displayed exceptional competence, stamina and situational awareness while completing 25 basket hoists and deploying the rescue swimmer nine times into areas marked by hazards to flight and flooded terrain. His superior judgment and precise conning commands allowed the pilot to safely maneuver CG-6022 amongst highly confining obstacles while safely rescuing many victims in urgent need of hospitalization. Petty Officer Smith's expert hoisting skills were challenged when he deployed the rescue basket into a gauntlet of flooded houses, live power lines and darkened light poles to complete the rescue of all elderly man. He again demonstrated superior aeronautical skill while deploying the rescue basket from 15 feet to a platform no larger than the basket itself successfully recovering a pregnant woman and her family. His exceptional leadership and crew resource management skills were critical to the success of the exceptionally difficult hoists. Petty Officer Smith's actions and heroism were instrumental in the rescue of 21 people. His courage, judgment, and devotion to duty in the face of hazardous conditions are most heartily commended and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Coast Guard.

Action Date: 4-Dec-07

Service: Coast Guard

Rank: Aviation Survivalman Third Class