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Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base in Montgomery County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
 

Award of Air Force Cross to Zachary J. Rhyner

 
 
Award of Air Force Cross to Zachary J. Rhyner Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, June 23, 2016
1. Award of Air Force Cross to Zachary J. Rhyner Marker
Inscription.
Citation to Accompany the Award of
The Air Force Cross
to

Zachary J. Rhyner

Senior Airman Zachary J. Rhyner distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in military operations against an opposing armed enemy of the United States in a valley in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan on 6 April 2008. On that date, while assigned as Special Tactics Combat Controller, Airman Rhyner executed a day rotary-wing infiltration with his Special Forces team to capture high-value insurgents in a village on the surrounding mountains. The team was attacked in a well-coordinated and deadly ambush while climbing near-vertical terrain to reach their objective. Devastating sniper, machine gun, and rocket-propelled grenade fire poured down on the team from elevated and protected positions on all sides, immediately pinning down the assault force. Without regard for his life, Airman Rhyner placed himself between the most immediate threats and provided suppressive fire with his M-4 rifle to protect multiple wounded soldiers, while simultaneously directing close air support strikes. Airman Rhyner bravely withstood the hail of enemy fire to control eight Air Force fighters and four Army attack helicopters. Despite being hit three times by enemy fire during the opening exchange, wounded once
Wide view of AF Cross memorial plaques. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, June 23, 2016
2. Wide view of AF Cross memorial plaques.
in the leg and hit twice in the chest, only to be protected by his equipment, he controlled more than 50 attack runs. Trapped on a 60 foot cliff even under constant enemy fire, Airman Rhyner repeatedly repelled the enemy with “danger close” air strikes, several within 100 meters of his position, showering his team with dirt and debris. Twice, his actions prevented his element from being overrun during the intense six and a half hour battle. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of the enemy, Airman Rhyner reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
 
Erected by Maxwell-Gunter AFSNCOA Class 09-C.
 
Location. 32° 24.266′ N, 86° 14.978′ W. Marker is in Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, Alabama, in Montgomery County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of McDonald Street and Avenue D. Touch for map. Located at the USAF Senior NCO Academy on Gunter AFB and requires base access. Marker is at or near this postal address: 550 McDonald Street, Montgomery AL 36114, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Award of Air Force Cross to John A. Chapman (here, next to this marker); Award of Air Force Cross to Jason D. Cunningham (here, next
SRA Zachary J. Rhyner image. Click for full size.
By USAF Photo - PD
3. SRA Zachary J. Rhyner
to this marker); Award of Air Force Cross to Robert Gutierrez, Jr. (here, next to this marker); Award of Air Force Cross to Ivan M. Ruiz (here, next to this marker); Award of Air Force Cross to Timothy A. Wilkinson (here, next to this marker); Award of Air Force Cross to Jon D. Harston (here, next to this marker); Award of Air Force Cross to Dustin H. Temple (here, next to this marker); Award of Air Force Cross to Charles D. McGrath (here, next to this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base.
 
Also see . . .  Wikipedia article on Zachary Rhyner. (Submitted on June 27, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
 
Categories. HeroesWar, Afghanistan
 
Enlisted Air Force Cross Description image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, June 23, 2016
4. Enlisted Air Force Cross Description

The AF Cross is awarded for extraordinary heroism against an armed enemy, to any person while serving with the U.S. Air Force, while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing enemy force, or while serving with friendly foreign forces, engaged in conflict against an opposing force in which the United States is not a belligerent party. It is awarded for heroic actions second in precedence only to the Medal of Honor and is presented in the name of the President. It was established by Congress by Public Law 88-593 on 6 July 1960.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 29, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 27, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 126 times since then and 27 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on June 27, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.
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