TSgt Daniel Warren earns Bronze Star for Valor
Tech. Sgt. Daniel Warren describes his life outside of his job as a pararescueman as “pretty boring.”
“When I’m home, I like to lay low with my wife, two dogs, and we have a baby on the way,” Warren said.
But his life as a member of the 308th Rescue Squadron at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, is anything but boring. A little over a year apart, Warren earned a Bronze Star for valor and has had his name added to the prestigious MacKay Trophy.
When Warren deploys, he typically serves as a pararescue team leader. As a PJ, his mission is to rescue, recover and return American or allied forces in times of danger or extreme duress.
According to the PJ factsheet, “whether shot down or isolated behind enemy lines; surrounded, engaged, wounded or captured by the enemy; PJs will do whatever is required to deny the enemy a victory and bring our warriors home to fight another day.”
In September 2012, Warren was involved in a five-hour firefight against insurgents at Camp Bastion, which is located in Afghanistan.
“It was actually our night off. …we were dead asleep on the couch,” Warren said.
“I was basically given a call on the radio to get a medical ruck and report to the Tactical Operations Center. [From there] we grabbed some night-vision goggles and rifles, got into the back of a truck and pressed to the flight line.”
During the firefight, Warren and his team rendered medical treatment to wounded personnel.
“When we went forward, there were about four or five guys with shrapnel injuries,” he said. “We did stabilization treatments and sent them back to the rear.”
Warren’s actions during that firefight earned him a Bronze Star. Little did he know that a little more than a year later, another significant event would get his name on one of the most prestigious trophies in the Air Force.
On Dec. 21, 2013, Warren boarded a CV-22 Osprey — one of three — that was tasked to evacuate 30 U.S. citizens in Bor, South Sudan. The day before the mission, a United Nations helicopter was brought down by gunfire in the same area.
As the formation of CV-22s — code-named Rooster 73, 74 and 75 — approached the airfield, they encountered ground fire. Each aircraft was struck by several rounds, and four people in Rooster 73 were shot.
Warren and two other teammates, Tech Sgt. Jason Broline and Staff Sgt. Lee VonHack-Prestinary, both PJs assigned to the mission, started to evaluate the medical situation of the wounded.
“We couldn’t land to get to the other aircraft [where the wounded were], because if we landed the aircraft would had been permanently disabled or ‘hard broke,’” Warren said. “So, since we couldn’t treat these guys, we had to get creative.”
Warren and his team initiated a technique called walking blood bank, which they had learned from a mobile surgical team. They started drawing blood from people aboard their aircraft, Rooster 74, and soon after they found a match for one of the critical patients aboard Rooster 73.
“It’s a game-changer,” Warren said of the blood bank. “You can give all the IV (intravenous) fluids and pain medication, but what a patient really needs when he is bleeding out is oxygen, and only blood can do that.”
The aircraft later landed in Entebbe, Uganda, where Warren and his team started working, hands-on, with the four wounded victims. The patients were then transferred to a C-17 Globemaster III medical support plane, where they received more treatment before being transported to a hospital in Kenya.
Warren, his fellow PJs and the aircrews of Rooster 73, 74 and 75 all earned a spot on the MacKay Trophy for their actions during the South Sudan mission.
“Really, it was the aircrews that saved everybody’s lives,” Warren said. “Myself, Lee and Jason are just honored to be among those guys.”
The MacKay Trophy is awarded for the most “meritorious flight of the year” by an Air Force person, persons or organization. The National Aeronautic Association presented the trophy, which is on permanent display at the National Air and Space Museum, during a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 5, 2014. Warren and several other people who participated in the mission attended.
“It was great to see the aircrews again; there were lots of hugs, handshakes and stories,” Warren said. “I am very honored to receive the MacKay Trophy, I mean I’m in the company of giants like Rickenbacker and Doolittle. It’s unreal.”
“Sergeant Warren deserved the awards he has received because he has put himself out there,” said Maj. Chad Senior, 308th RQS commander. “He is a relentless worker and a classic overachiever. That, coupled with the fact that he is always volunteering to deploy, has allowed him to have operational success.”