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John F. Cuddy


Air Force Achievement Medal with Combat "V"

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Awarded for actions during the Global War on Terror

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Air Force Achievement Medal with Valor to First Lieutenant John F. Cuddy, United States Air Force. Lieutenant Cuddy distinguished himself by heroism as HC-130P Copilot while engaged in ground operations against an opposing armed force at El Fashir, Sudan, on 28 November 2006. On that date, Lieutenant Cuddy and his crew were forcibly detained at gun point and ordered to surrender by the Sudanese military under accusations of espionage. Lieutenant Cuddy refused to yield. Unarmed and with no means to contact his crew, he voluntarily accompanied his detainers to a remote location to resolve monetary disputes. Lieutenant Cuddy resolved the issue with diplomacy. He returned to the crew and immediately took a defensive posture outside the aircraft preventing unauthorized access. Facing threats of execution, Lieutenant Cuddy steadfastly negotiated for release. Hostilities escalated when the detainers received aircraft seizure clearance. Facing mortal danger, he valiantly defended his crew by manning a defensive firing position against over 150 heavily armed troops for 2 hours until diplomatic action prevailed. All assets and personnel were recovered. All 17 American detainees returned with honor. By his heroic actions and unselfish dedication to duty, Lieutenant Cuddy has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Action Date: 28-Nov-06

Service: Air Force

Rank: First Lieutenant

Company: 79th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron

Regiment: 449th Air Expeditionary Group