October 23, 1999 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Maj. Michael Lee, of the 93rd FS at Homestead AFB in Florida, is the winner of the 1999 Joe Bill Dryden Semper Viper Award.
Lee earned the award for his performance during an Operation Northern Watch combat mission last May. His flight marked the first combat employment of laser-guided weapons from a non-GPS
LANTIRN-equipped block 30
F-16. Lee was flight lead in a two-aircraft flight patrolling the no-fly zone over northern Iraq.
Near the beginning of the four-hour vulnerability period, two surface-to-air missiles were launched at coalition aircraft. Throughout the flight, aircraft received numerous radar-warning indications of antiaircraft artillery and surface-to-air missile threats. Lee performed inertial navigation system updates and aggressively positioned his flight close to the target area.
By taking these actions, he was in position to identify the target when he observed the impact of a standoff weapon on one of the site?s three missile launchers. Although the key target-tracking radar had not been attacked, Lee took his flight into a lethal threat ring to destroy the second launcher with two laser-guided bombs