Two A-10 Thunderbolt II Pilots received Distinguished Flying Crosses earlier this month, having earned them in the air during separate battles against Taliban fighters years ago. The two pilots, Lt. Col. Tony "Crack" Roe and Maj. John "Sapper" Tice, were both flight commanders with the 303rd Fighter Squadron in Afghanistan.

The ceremony that took place at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri on Nov. 2 was a rare occasion as the prestigious Distinguished Flying Cross was presented to two pilots from the same squadron on the same day.

A report by Air Force Times indicates that Lt. Col. Roe received his Distinguished Flying Cross with valor citation and this was not his first. Believe it or not, this is actually his third. According to official reports, he was flying out of Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan on June 5, 2008, to support an Army resupply convoy. The soldiers in the convoy were in a horrible situation -- they were pinned down by rocket-propelled grenade fire and running out of ammunition.

The pilot and his wingman then proceeded to show up and make contact with the troops on the ground. All it took were several rounds out of the Warthogs' wonderful 30mm and 7 rockets and the fight was over. It took less than an hour.

A-10 thunderbolt
An A-10 thunderbolt is parked on the tarmac at the Namest air force base near Brno, Czech Republic, where it is taking part in joint NATO military exercises called Ramstein Rover. The exercise is organized and managed by the Air Force Component Command HQ AC Ramstein. getty

For Tice, his crowning achievement was out of Kandahar Air Base in Afghanistan, supporting two special forces teams who were guarding another group of army engineers building a bridge in the Helmand River Valley, a hotly contested area of Afghanistan even today. While they were on that mission Taliban fighters managed to surround them. The special forces troops made contact with the A-10 and Tice got on the ball and came in low spraying the Taliban fighters with an unprecedented 1,140 rounds of ammunition from the 30 mm gun. He single-handedly killed 32 enemy combatants and saved the lives of 75 U.S. troops. No small feat.

Many of the soldiers that were saved by both men attended the award ceremony and they all received standing ovations from the packed crowd.

The Distinguished Flying Cross is the Air Force's fourth-highest medal for heroism in combat, behind only the Medal of Honor, the Air Force Cross and the Silver Star. One can easily make an argument that to the multitudes of troops that were saved these two men deserve much more than that. In any case, job well done.