Lt. Colonel John Phalon was one of the HH-60 helicopter pilots that assisted in the rescue of Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell and was later involved in removing the remains of Michael Murphy, Danny Dietz , & Matt Axelson from the mountains of Afghanistan. Phalon was in the lead aircraft flying cover for the chopper that took Luttrell off the mountain.
In this e-mail interview Phalon discusses his background as a pilot and gives a detailed account of his involvement in Operation Redwings.
LoneSurvivor.net: Tell everyone a little bit about your background….your name, hometown, some info on your military career and pilot training, etc. Just however much you feel comfortable talking about.
John Phalon: My name is John “JP” Phalon. Although currently on active duty, at the time of the rescue I was a traditional reservist in the 305th Rescue Squadron at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ. The “traditional” means that I was one of those part time, “one-weekend-a-month-and-two-weeks-a-year” guys, although anyone in a flying unit in the Air National Guard or the Air Force Reserves knows that particular characterization of service is a false one. We are charged to keep just as proficient and maintain the same exact currencies as our active duty counterparts, and thus are required to put in much more time with the unit than that commonly assumed by the public.