Lakenheath airman gets France's highest award for crash rescue

Staff Sgt. Greggory Swarz speaks to French media after being awarded the French Legion of Honor at Le Bourget Airport during the International Paris Air Show on Monday, June 15, 2015. Swarz helped to save three French airmen after a Greek F-16 Fighting Falcon crashed into the parking ramp at Los Llanos Air Base, Spain.


By STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 16, 2015

RAF MILDENHALL, England — An RAF Lakenheath airman received France’s highest award on Monday for his role in helping to save the lives of French servicemembers.

Staff Sgt. Greggory Swarz, with the 492nd Aircraft Maintenance Unit, received the Legion of Honor during the International Paris Air Show, according to U.S. Air Forces in Europe. Swarz pulled three French airmen out of a fire that erupted after a Greek F-16 crashed on Los Llanos Air Base, Spain, in January during a multinational exercise.

The two Greek pilots and nine French airmen died.

Swarz also received the U.S. Airman’s Medal in March for his actions.

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Jonathan McNeely, Staff Sgt. Eli Gordon, Staff Sgt. John Escalante and Senior Airman Matthew Jeffers received France’s National Defense Medal for their actions after the crash, USAFE said.