Moody Airman honored - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Moody Airman honored

August 7, 2002
by Ashley Harper

Jason Cunningham died doing what he did best, serving his country and helping others.

"He was always the kind of person who did his absolute best," said Chris Mercendetti, 38th Sqadron commander.  "He was always staying late, and making sure the job was getting done."

Jason was killed last March in Afghanistan while treating wounded Navy Seals caught in enemy fire. A rocket-propelled grenade brought down his chopper, but he continued to treat others while exposed to sniper and mortar fire.

Come September, Jason will be honored for these heroic efforts. He will posthumously receive the Air Force's highest decoration - the Air Force Cross.

"He truly deserves it," said Mercendetti. "This award was designed for someone of Jason's caliber."

Jason's fellow airmen at Moody Air Force Base say there's no one more deserving of the award.

"Based on what the award stands for, Jason is the best possible recipient for the Air Force Cross," said Mercendetti. "He knew his injuries were life threatening but still continued to put others needs ahead of his own."

Jason will be the 22nd recipient of the Air Force Cross, and only the second since 1975. No one from Moody Air Force Base has ever received such an honor.

"For Moody, its really a significant event, especially with us being a fairly new squadron," said Mercendetti.

And although they are still overwhelmed by the grief of losing one of their own, members of the 38th squadron are comforted by the sense of pride this elite award has brought to their division.

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