Also Nominated For Alfred A. Cunningham Award
Throughout history, Marines have displayed excellent leadership
during times of war... and the leadership of one Marine in Iraq
continues this Marine Corps Legacy.
Aero-News has learned that Flight 13 of the Order of Daedalians
named Major Ricardo Martinez (above) the 2006 Outstanding Aviator
of the Year during their monthly meeting June 8 at the Marine Corps
Air Station Miramar (CA) Officer’s Club.
Martinez, a UH-1N Huey pilot with Marine Light Attack Helicopter
Squadron 369, Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing,
is also 3rd MAW’s nominee for the 2006 Marine Corps Aviation
Alfred A. Cunningham Award for his actions in Iraq.
"Martinez’s courageous actions in the Al Anbar Province,
Iraq, displayed the preeminent Marine Warrior Spirit," said Maj.
Gen. Samuel T. Helland, commanding general, 3rd MAW, in his letter
of recommendation. "It’s with great pleasure that I nominate
him for the award."
On a warm morning in November 2005, Martinez was section leader
for an air element that was escorting a logistics convoy to its
During the flight, Martinez’s wingman, an AH-1W Cobra
gunship, received enemy ground fire and was shot down --resulting
in the deaths of the two pilots.
Martinez, an Edinburg, TX native, unhesitatingly flew to the
crash site to assess the situation despite the known threat. He
knew the crash site had to be secured, as the neighborhood had a
hostile reputation and is known to use coalition forces dead or
alive as propaganda.
He returned to the convoy several miles away and picked up five
volunteer Marines to insert at the crash site to provide security.
He skillfully flew back to the site managing the power available
with the helicopter at maximum gross weight.
Upon his return to the site, several Iraqis were already there.
When they saw Martinez coming, they quickly fled the scene.
Martinez again proved spectacular airmanship when he landed the
aircraft in what is described as a small backyard surrounded by
walls. His aircraft barely fit in the area, which included the
"Martinez distinguished himself during superior duties while in
Iraq," said Richard Martindell, adjudant, Flight 13 Daedalians. "We
are excited and proud to recognize his accomplishments and good
(Aero-News salutes Lance Cpl. Robert W. Beaver, MCAS