You may recall the horrific mudslide that killed 43 people in the small community of Oso, Washington last year.
One of the first responses was by the duty Search and Rescue helicopter stationed at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington.
The Navy helicopter crew first on the scene at the Oso mud slide was finally honored Wednesday, and one member was awarded the country’s highest non-combat medal.
“It’s an honor to represent 7 million Washingtonians to pay our respects to the heroes that we are honoring today,” said Gov. Jay Inslee at a ceremony inside the Capitol rotunda on “Navy Day.”
The Naval aviators who flew the rescue mission and the federal fire fighters who went on the mission with them were all honored for their actions on that day 11 months ago. Seven people are alive because of their efforts.
They responded in their MH-60 Sierra helicopter and had no idea what to expect at Oso. They thought they were heading to an avalanche of snow. Instead it was an avalanche of mud.
“Looked like rolling hills of mud, like you were looking out over an ocean with rolling waves. That’s what it looked like almost,” said Lt. Cmdr. David Waner.
One minor quibble. LCDR Warner was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, which is the highest award for valor not involving combat.