2008 Superior Achievement Award

Presented to: Captain Christopher S. Kapp

Citation: For timely execution and precise navigation during operations supporting the global war on terrorism and standout performance in developing cutting edge joint aero-maritime rescue procedures.


While flying in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, Air Force Capt. Christopher Kapp's MC-130H Combat Talon II was redirected by higher headquarters to land at the nearest airfield, off-load current cargo, when he received the immediate action that required him to plan on-the-fly an in-flight KC-135 tanker rendezvous, obtain enough fuel to land at a remote mountainous dirt airstrip, exfiltrate 12 Australian special air service combat operators, and perform a 10,000 foot, high altitude/high opening personnel airdrop onto a small Taliban compound. His impressive execution of this extremely time-sensitive mission resulted in a zero second high altitude release to an on-target airdrop. The mission's outcome was the capture of eight Taliban leaders, furthering the coalition's efforts to defeat Taliban ideology in Afghanistan.

Capt. Kapp also responded to a distress call from a ship in the Pacific Ocean, where an unconscious crew member had a critical head injury. In less than four hours, Capt. Kapp independently developed new techniques that allowed the crew to locate and intercept the ship. His plan allowed the MC-130H alert-crew to reach the ship only nine hours from receiving the distress call, in open seas, having no communication with the vessel, and within mere miles of its forecasted position. His innovative techniques permitted the crew to accurately execute an airdrop of small boats, medical equipment and personnel, which resulted in saving the life of one injured crewman. Capt. Kapp's inventive tactics, involving honing system airdrop accuracy by radar-updating off of a moving ship, and accounting for not only wind, but ocean current drift are currently being studied by Air Force special operations command tacticians to be released to the entire special operations MC-130 community as common navigation practice concerning maritime rescue airdrops on the open seas.

Capt. Kapp is currently an MC-130H evaluator navigator with the 353d Special Operations Group, Kadena Air Base, Japan. He has completed combat tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan supporting the global war on terrorism. Capt. Kapp has a B.S. in Social Sciences from the University of Southern Colorado. He was selected as the 2007 353rd Special Operations Group Navigator of the Year. His decorations include two Air Medals, three Aerial Achievement Medals, four Air Force Commendation Medals, and two Air Force Achievement Medals. He has accumulated over 5,100 flying hours and 356 combat hours.