By Debbie Gregory.
The Department of Defense has recently released documents that tell the story of bravery and perseverance of one of our country’s finest.
In 2014, Army helicopter pilot Michael Siler, who was a Chief Warrant Officer 4 at the time, was flying in a classified nighttime mission with the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta. Siler, in spite of being shot in the leg by ground fire, kept flying for five hours.
Siler received the Silver Star for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, as well as the Purple Heart for combat wounds.
At the helm of one of two MH-60L Direct Action Penetrator helicopters, Siler was the lead pilot of a 10-hour-long raid, which he not only planned, but also executed.”
The mission, which deployed Delta Force into Syria with “zero illumination” was an effort to secure Americans that were being held by ISIS. In what can only be considered a very complicated operation, Siler piloted one of the several crafts that were providing air support for two dozen Delta operators who had been dropped at an oil refinery at Raqqa.
A team of soldiers on the ground moved quickly into the safe house where James Foley, Steven Sotloff, and other hostages were believed to be held. But the operators found only ISIS fighters
After the area was secure, the Delta operators gathered up anything that could yield intelligence or forensic value, according to The New Yorker. After about an hour, they departed on Black Hawks back to an unspecified “neighboring country.”
The mission was made public more than a month later on Aug. 20, 2014, probably due to the fact that ISIS posted a video showing the beheading of Foley by a masked terrorist, later identified as Mohammed Emwazi.
Emwazi was killed in a drone strike in late 2015.
Siler, now a Chief Warrant Officer-5, is still with the 160th at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He was also recognized as the Michael J. Novosel Army Aviator of the Year in 2014.