Cannon AFB officer receives Distinguished Flying Cross

CLOVIS, N.M. (AP) — An Air Force officer assigned to a special operations unit at Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico is being honored for his actions while under enemy gunfire in the African nation of Djibouti in 2013.

Base officials planned Monday to present the Distinguished Flying Cross to Maj. William J. Mendel.

Mendel is now assigned to the 20th Special Operations Wing at Cannon but was a captain and an aircraft commander in the 8th Expeditionary Special Operations Squadron in late 2013.

Cannon officials did not respond to a request for details of how Mendel earned the decoration but a statement announcing the ceremony cited “his quick-thinking actions under heavy enemy gunfire.”

Mendel flies the C-22 Osprey, an aircraft that can fly like a plane and land like a helicopter.