Major Michael Tolzien, special operations pilot, awarded DFC

| July 18, 2018

In another Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross story, the Air Force Times recounts the actions of Major Michael Tolzien, who at the time, was a special operations pilot of a MC-130J Commando II aircraft two years ago in Afghanistan, when he was tasked to get relief supplies to a Speciql Forces team who was critically short of war-fighting supplies. Tolzien lifted off with 1600 pounds of equipment.

After loading up and taking off, Tolzien’s aircraft began cruising toward the drop zone, which was changed multiple times due to the shifting nature of the ground combat situation.

The fluidity of the battle forced Tolzien’s crew to recalculate the perfect release point several times to ensure the supplies landed where U.S. forces, and not the enemy, could retrieve them.

Conditions were quickly deteriorating as the crew neared their objective and looked for the best spot to drop their haul. Tolzien’s aircraft was struck multiple times by enemy fire as it flew slow and low, at about 800 feet above the ground, looking for the drop point.

Despite the incoming rounds, Tolzien was able to remain calm and fly the plane steady enough that his crew dropped the supplies within 50 meters of the ground forces, “halting any further loss of life,” according to the Air Force. The drop “directly contributed to a successful counterattack.”

Category: Air Force

Comments (18)

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  1. chooee lee says:

    Well Done Maj. Tolzien

  2. AW1Ed says:

    Earned the hard way- Bravo Zulu, Major Tolzien!

  3. 2banana says:

    Like some vowels…

    “Speciql Forces team who was critically short of war-fighting supplies…”

  4. HMC Ret says:

    I’m humbled by the bravery you displayed, Sir.

  5. Ex-PH2 says:

    Damn good piloting, again.

  6. Dave Hardin says:

    Ok, good job. (That hurt a little)

  7. Today is USAF stories of valor day and none of them are of imaginary heroism but the real deal…GO AIR FORCE, AIM HIGH

  8. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    I’ll say this.It’s a damn good thing he had no booghers in his nose at the angle that pic was taken. And it’s good, too, that both his nostrils are the same size. Had a nun in grade school whose nostrils were different sizes. Cripes. After the first time of looking up at her as she hovered over my desk, I was done. Just done.

  9. 5JC says:

    I never complained whenever the AF showed up in the sky over the battlefield, ever.

  10. Berliner says:

    I picture him flying an MC-130J with brass truck nutz clanging in the slipstream.

  11. HMC Ret says:

    Flying low and slow while taking fire. That tells me everything I need to know about this warrior.

  12. jon spencer says:

    Did the rest of the crew receive any type of award?

    • AnotherPat says:

      jon spencer:

      Yes, according to the Air Force Times article Jonn embedded in this post:

      “Four other members of Tolzien’s crew also recieved DFCs for their actions during the mission.

      Capt. Charlotte Raabe, the crew’s combat systems officer, and Staff Sgt. Gary Bjerke, a loadmaster, received their DFCs in January. Then, in February, Capt. Joseph Castro, another pilot, and Staff Sgt. Joshua Call, the other loadmaster, also were awarded the DFC.”