During a strafing run in the A-10 on Jul. 20, 2017, the cannon jammed which caused the canopy to jettison in mid-air. Compounding the issue, the attack jet’s landing gear was locked in the up position. Despite the difficulties, Maj. Brett DeVries was able to recover the aircraft and performing an emergency landing
For the first time since 2013, the Daedalians – a national military aviation organization – has awarded the Joe Foss Award for Excellence. The recipient is Maj. Brett DeVries, an A-10 pilot with the 107th Fighter Squadron.
During a strafing run in the A-10 while flying over the Grayling Air Gunnery Range in northern Michigan on Jul. 20, 2017, the cannon jammed which caused the canopy to jettison in mid-air. Compounding the issue, the attack jet’s landing gear was locked in the up position and most of the radio systems were knocked offline.
Despite the difficulties, DeVries was able to recover the aircraft to land at Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center with minimal damage to the plane. The aircraft’s tires, which are partially exposed on an A-10 to allow for a wheels-up landing, blew out on touchdown. DeVries was able to maintain partial control of the aircraft. No one was injured in the emergency and the aircraft suffered only minimal damage.
The Daedalians gave him the award for his excellence airmanship in recovering the stricken aircraft.
“This was a display of superior Airmanship that lives up to the finest tradition of military aviation,” said Lt. Gen. (ret.) Douglas Owens, national commander of the Order of the Daedalians.
As told by TSgt Daniel Heaton, 127th Wing, in the article Selfridge A-10 Pilot Honored by Daedalians, DeVries made a special trip to Michigan from his home in Texas to present the Foss award to DeVries. ,
The Daedalians were founded by a group of World War I pilots to support and encourage excellence in military aviation. Owens said the organization was founded by the first generation of people who defended the nation in the air.
“Today, that legacy is continued, thanks to pilots such as Major DeVries,” Owens said.
The Foss Award honors the legacy of Brig. Gen. Joe Foss, a former Marine Corps pilot who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his service during World War II. Foss, who served in the Air National Guard in later years, was the top Marine fighter ace in World War II.
DeVries earned his wings and became an A-10 pilot with the Michigan Air National Guard about eight years ago.
During the Daedalian ceremony, DeVries was also awarded commander’s coins from Owens; Major Gen. Leonard Isabelle, commander of the Michigan Air National Guard and a former 107th pilot himself; and from Brig. Gen. Doug Slocum, the 127th Wing commander at Selfridge. Owens and Slocum are former and current A-10 pilots, respectively. Isabelle flew F-16 Falcons with the 107th.
Slocum said in addition to DeVries, the team that supported him on that day, most notably Vickers, also deserves recognition.
“It is a team effort. And the team worked together perfectly on this day,” Slocum said.
Owens said unlike most Daedalian awards, which are presented annually, the Foss award is only presented on special occasions, when warranted.
“But when this nomination crossed our desk, it was obvious that Major DeVries needed to be recognized,” Owens said.
Photo credit: Terry Atwell and Master Sgt. David Kujawa / U.S. Air National Guard
Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com