History Made in Queen’s Awards

On 21 March 2007, the Queen of England awarded the Military Cross and the Distinguished Flying Cross to two unusual recipients.

Private Michelle Norris holding her Military Cross Pictured is Private Michelle Norris of C Company, 1 Bn the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment. She is the first female to ever receive the be awarded the Military Cross.

Last year she braved sniper fire to administer life saving first aid to her vehicle commander.


Major William Chesarek holding his Military CrossThis is Major William D. Chesarek Jr. of the United States Marine Corps. He is the first US soldier to receive the United Kingdom’s Distinguished Flying Cross since the Second World War.

Although he trained to fly a Super Cobra helicopter for the US Marines, Major Chesarek is serving as an exchange officer assigned to Royal Air Force’s 847th Naval Air Squadron, Commando Helicopter Force. These days he is flying the RAF’s Lynx Mk7 helicopter.

During the action that had Private Norris’ unit under attack, Major Chesarek flew his helicopter low over the “insurgents” to disperse the crowd. Instead, he drew fire. But when he heard that someone on the ground had been hurt and that a casualty evacuation was necessary, he took action:

Chesarek made the unconventional move – what’s considered an “implied mission” in military parlance — to conduct a medical evacuation with the Lynx to help a British soldier with a life-threatening head injury. As the only aircraft available to assist, he landed the Lynx near the company in distress as his door gunner and another crew member jumped out.

“My door gunner jumped out and picked up the injured soldier and put him in the helicopter,” Chesarek said. “My other crew member had to stay, or we would have been overweight to fly.”

Heroes. God bless ’em!