Captain honored for mission in Afghanistan

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – An Air Force captain stationed at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque received the distinguished Flying Cross Medal on Monday for a rescue mission he commanded in Afghanistan.

In 2011, R. Jefferson Donaldson was on one of two helicopters called to help soldiers who were injured in an ambush in Kandahar.

With very low fuel and warnings of additional attacks, Donaldson continued on the mission and rescued three soldiers. They made it back to the airfield running on fumes.

Donaldson credited his team and his training for the mission’s success.

“It was very much a team effort to get it done, so I’m glad that some of us are receiving acknowledgement for that,” said Donaldson, commander of the 58th Special Ops. Wing.

The Flying Cross Medal is America’s oldest military aviation award.

The last Kirtland airman to receive it was Staff Sgt. Brandon Hill in 2012. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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