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John D. Easton

Home of record: Helena Montana


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 Captain John D. Easton, United States Air Force, for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as F-15E Flight Lead, 492d Fighter Squadron, 48th Operations Group, 48th Fighter Wing, Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, on 21 March 2011. On this night, Captain Easton led his formation through an airborne re-tasking to successfully strike a strategic surface-to-air missile site in Libya requiring unscheduled air to air refueling and suppression of enemy air defenses by a pair of F-16s. After employing his ordnance while inside multiple surface-to-air threats, his wingman suffered an aircraft malfunction and crashed behind enemy lines. He quickly maneuvered his aircraft into a support position and preemptively maneuvered to prevent engagement by surface threats. Orbiting overhead, he coordinated for support of three fighter formations allowing a detailed search for survivors while simultaneously coordinating air refueling and command elements to maintain assets overhead the downed crew. After establishing radio contact with only the pilot, he executed three low altitude shows of force through numerous surface-to-air threats successfully deterring their pursuit of the pilot while not endangering the un-located crew member. During this period, Captain Easton aggressively maneuvered his aircraft away from three separate attempts by enemy forces to target his aircraft. As the only aircraft on station, Captain Easton adjusted his bingo fuel to an emergency level, allowing only one divert option. After coordinating for other formations to remain overhead and refueling, Captain Easton returned providing rescue escort to two Marine CV-22s during their repatriation of the pilot. The professional competence, aerial skill, and devotion to duty displayed by Captain Easton reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Action Date: March 21, 2011

Service: Air Force

Rank: Captain

Battalion: 492d Fighter Squadron