December 23, 2003 (by Lieven Dewitte) - An F-16 instructor pilot from the Air Force Weapons School at Nellis AFB was presented two Distinguished Flying Crosses in a ceremony. Capt. Scott Ulmer, a member of the 16th Weapons Squadron, earned both decorations in the span of three days during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
According to the citations accompanying the awards, Captain Ulmer was flying as an F-16 CJ flight lead tasked with suppressing enemy air defenses, a mission referred to as 'SEAD'. The F-16s were providing escort for Navy F-18 and F-14 strike aircraft.
"Due to extremely bad weather conditions, Captain Ulmer was forced to fly well below his normal tactical altitude, at great personal risk", the citation stated.
After braving intense enemy fire, in the form of anti-aircraft artillery and surface- to-air missile threats, while successfully providing protection to the strike aircraft, his flight was re-tasked to destroy a surface-to-air missile radar that was covering Southeastern Baghdad.
Once again flying through bad weather conditions and incredibly heavy anti-aircraft artillery and surface-to-air missile threats, the captain personally destroyed the radar site.
During the attack, he was forced to defend himself against enemy fire and had to jettison his external fuel tanks in order to speed his exit from the area.
Only two days later, Captain Ulmer was again a flight lead, this time as part of a destruction-of-enemy-air-defenses, or DEAD, package.
Once again, he and his flight braved intense enemy fire in what was one of the densest concentrations of anti-aircraft artillery and surface-to-air missile sites in the country, according to the citation.
Following his first successful attack run and after receiving large amounts of enemy fire, the captain organized another attack run to ensure the flight destroyed all the assigned targets. The flight destroyed all four targets with their four bombs.
Despite having to react defensively to several surface-to-air missile engagements, Captain Ulmer and his flight successfully destroyed two surface-to-air missile sites and two surface-to-surface missile sights, helping clear the way for coalition forces.