WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Mike Johnson (LA-04) sent a letter to U.S. Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett requesting that the Air Force upgrade the medals awarded to Barksdale-based airmen who carried out one of the opening strikes of Operation Desert Storm. Congressman Johnson has asked that the B-52 crews’ Air Medals be upgraded to the Distinguished Flying Cross, which is awarded for heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight.
The letter goes on to state:
“On January 16, 1991, seven B-52 bombers from the 596th Bomb Squadron, 2nd Bomb Wing took off from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana to destroy Iraqi command and control centers, communications facilities, and power generation facilities before returning back to Barksdale. The historic roundtrip mission, officially named Operation Senior Surprise, took 35.4 hours to complete and covered over 14,000 miles. It was a tremendous success that paved the way for continued air superiority for coalition forces throughout Operation Desert Storm. . .
“Given the extraordinary characteristics of the mission and the expertise with which it was flown, I believe a medal upgrade is warranted. As such, I respectfully ask that the recognition of the achievements of these airmen be upgraded from the Air Medal to the Distinguished Flying Cross.”