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an insurgent ambush directed at a U.S. Army Engineer unit per- forming a route clearance patrol. Accounts of the actions on Aug. 24, 2009, indicate 30 U.S. ground troops faced about 100 enemy insurgents armed with heavy machine guns, small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades.

Col. Morgan repeatedly

maneuvered his aircraft in close proximity to rocket propelled grenade fire and heavy machine gun fire, enabling him to engage and destroy the enemy positions, saving the engineers’ lives. Twice, during the six-hour battle, Col. Morgan's team of two helicopters refueled, re-armed and returned to the fight. The team stayed in the battle even after running out of rockets and .50-caliber ammu- nition twice. As lead pilot, he and a trailing Kiowa Warrior made two additional passes directly over the insurgents, drawing fire away from the ground forces. For his actions Col. Morgan

was awarded the Silver Star, which is the third highest wartime medal awarded for valor in the line of duty. The medal was presented to

Col. Morgan by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates at Kandahar Airfield in March 2010. In addition to the Silver Star, Col. Morgan also earned two Distinguished Flying Crosses and an Army Commendation Medal with Valor.

"The 10,500 men and women of Bell Helicopter are proud to dedicate the first painting of our "Heroes of Aviation" Series to Col. Morgan and his team," said John L. Garrison, president and CEO of Bell Helicopter. At the unveiling ceremony Garrison told Col. Morgan, "You may refuse to think of yourself as a hero - but your soldiers who all made it out alive and your team agree, you truly are an American Hero!" "I am humbled and touched by the attention that I have been given, "said Col. Mike Morgan. "This honor rightfully belongs to the men and woman who work tirelessly behind the scenes to support the troops. It is a total team effort from aviators, to maintainers, to supply and with our industry partners; everyone is part of this team."

The original painting has been

donated to the 82nd Airborne museum in Ft. Bragg, North Carolina for display and was received at the ceremony by Col. T.J. Jamison. Signed and numbered lithographs will be presented to members of Col. Morgan’s squadron, with the balance being given members of the unit and attendees at AAAA. With more than 750,000 fleet combat hours, the OH- 58D Kiowa Warrior is a com- bat-proven aircraft that is safe, rugged and reliable, maintain- ing the highest readiness rate of any Army helicopter operat- ing in Afghanistan while simultaneously having the highest operational tempo. The OH-58 Block II under development by Bell Helicoter at no cost to the US govern- ment, provides a cost efficient alternative for the U.S. Army and U.S. taxpayer, and will demonstrate Bell Helicopter’s ability to meet or exceed all performance requirements for the Army’s Armed Aerial Scout. ◆

SkyBOOKS Now Supports MI-8 and MI-17 Helicopters

SkyBOOKS, Inc., a Textron, Inc. company, and affiliate of Bell Helicopter, announced the expansion of its electronic maintenance tracking capabili- ty for Russian Mi helicopters. SkyBOOKS now provides maintenance tracking coverage for the MI-8 and MI-17 series

helicopters to meet the ever expanding needs of its global customer base.

"SkyBOOKS allows cus- tomers to spend more time performing critical mainte- nance functions by simplifying the maintenance tracking and document control process," said John Willis, SkyBOOKS chief operating officer. "We

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