Organisers of the first Kinsale Aviation Festival will on Saturday give its 2021 Aviation Valour Award to the crew: Lieut Col Eric Kut, Capt Cory Jackson, First Lieut Mark Lawson, Technical Sgt Justin Triola, Airman 1st class Nicolas Baron, Staff Sgt Derek Laurent and Senior Airman Richard Johnson, part of the sixth airlift squadron.
They flew the refugees from Kabul to safety in difficult circumstances in an aircraft designed for a maximum of 336 passengers on humanitarian missions.
The citation states that the crew used their “judgment and flying skill to conduct the safe departure of this remarkable flight” displaying valour in aviation and breaking records for the number of passengers carried by the aircraft.
Backed by aircraft lessor Avolon, stockbroker Goodbody and the Irish Historic Flight Foundation, the Kinsale Aviation Festival will feature a plenary session on Saturday, followed by gatherings in some of the Co Cork town’s restaurants later.
According to one of the organisers, Goodbody director of origination and corporate broking Joe Gill, proceeds will go to the Millstreet Helicopter Emergency Medical Service, which operates from Rathcoole aerodrome in partnership with Irish Community Rapid Response.