Joseph T. Bertagna

The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Captain Joseph T. Bertagna for heroism while participating in aerial flight while serving as pilot of an AV-8B Harrier Marine Attack Squadron 513, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Central Command, Bagram, Afghanistan on 19 July 2003 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Assigned to escort a ground convoy in eastern Afghanistan, Captain Bertagna arrived on-station to find the convoy was under attack by enemy forces. Flying over the enemy at a very low altitude, he acquired the enemy at dangerously close range of 200 meters from ground forces. Precisely positioning his aiming symbology, Captain Bertagna employed his 25mm cannon into the enemy’s position. He immediately re-attacked and emptied his cannon into an additional enemy position. He then assumed duties as the on-scene commander for a helicopter borne medical evacuation. Captain Bertagna used his targeting pod to locate a suitable landing site for the medical evacuation aircraft. By his superb airmanship, inspiring courage, and loyal devotion to duty in the face of hazardous flying conditions, Captain Bertagna reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.