The British pilot, Thomas Hansford, was awarded the honorary medal of the Distinguished Flying Cross for performing a daring mission during the nine-hour transfer of a fighter jet, which resulted in the destruction of four trucks carrying explosive devices belonging to Daesh in Syria.
Hansford is a lieutenant pilot and his first mission was traversing the massive thunderstorm when his targets were more than a mile from each other during a coalition offensive in September last year.
According to the Mirror newspaper, he and another pilot were patrolling the skies of Hawija in Syria for five hours as an aide to the US-based Democratic Syrian Forces, known as Qusd, at a time when he had to sail his fighter jet through thunder storms.
The medal received by the pilot recognizes a work of valor, courage or loyalty to duty while flying in active operations against the enemy.
A ceremony to identify the heroes of the British armed forces at Buckingham Palace is planned for next year.
Daesh’s vehicles, aimed at killing and causing more terrorism in the area, were obstacles on the way to Hawija, near the Syrian border with Iraq.
Hansford was able to return to his Mediterranean base in Cyprus. “I am very proud that I have been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, but I am fortunate to be in this position and I trust that any other pilot on the squadron would have achieved equal success if assigned the same task.”
“There will be no cyclone operations against a possible advocate without teamwork and the constant support of our ground crew and refueling units in the air,” he said.
“Air Lieutenant Hansford offered exceptional leadership, wisdom and courage during his first mission as a pilot. One mistake could have led to the failure of the mission and a direct threat to friendly forces on the ground,” he said.
The award was launched on June 3, 1918, the birthday of King George V, and the medal takes the shape of the Silver Cross, designed by Edward Carter Preston.