Retired aviator from Delaware Air Guard to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross Saturday 40 years after actions helped save lives of 12 Airmen

  • Published
  • By 021111
This Saturday the Delaware Air National Guard will present one of the highest awards an aviator can receive, the Distinguished Flying Cross, to an aircrew member for actions taken during a C-97 transport mission in 1970 that helped save the lives of 12 Airmen. The Department of the Air Force approved this award earlier this year.

The recognition will occur during a 3:00 p.m. ceremony Saturday, Nov. 5, at Delaware ANG Headquarters at the New Castle ANG Base, New Castle, Del.

The recipient is retired Air Force Lt. Col. Tenney H. Wheatley Jr., a resident of Wilmington, Del.

On Dec. 5, 1970, then Capt. Wheatley distinguished himself by extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as co-pilot of a C-97 transport aircraft during an in-flight emergency over North Atlantic waters on a transatlantic flight. He was assigned to the 166th Combat Support Group, Greater Wilmington Airport, New Castle, Delaware, Delaware Air National Guard.

Present at the ceremony will be retired Lt. Col. Wheatley, two other fellow aircrew members aboard the 1970 flight, one of whom resides in Texas, plus family, friends and other distinguished guests, and senior leadership of the Delaware National Guard, the Delaware Air National Guard, and the 166th Airlift Wing.

The Distinguished Flying Cross is awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity with the Armed Forces of the U.S., distinguishes himself or herself by heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight.

The Distinguished Flying Cross Fact Sheet:

Media contact to gain admission to base to cover event: Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Matwey, Public Affairs Specialist, 166th Airlift Wing, cell 302-593-2126. Media are invited, but are asked to call ahead. Media will enter the base from Commons Boulevard for arrival at 2600 Spruance Drive, New Castle, DE 19720.

The Delaware ANG has 1,100 members, and continually deploys personnel and subordinate units around the globe. The unit is celebrating 65 years of Citizen-Airman service to our state and nation, 1946-2011.

This release is in the public domain, and any part may be used as written.

- 30 -
Media contact: Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Matwey
Public Affairs Specialist
166th Airlift Wing, Delaware Air National Guard
2600 Spruance Drive
New Castle, DE 19720-1615
Cell 302-593-2126, or Office 302-323-3369
Unit website:
Facebook page: