El Paso native awarded with rare honor
Updated: Monday, November 4 2013, 10:12 AM MST
By: Stephanie Guadian
EL PASO, Texas - Nan Napier is as proud as she was surprised by her son's honor. "I am just so proud, because it is all about character," said Napier.
Air force Capt. Charles "Creed" Napier did three tours in Afghanistan as a combat search and rescue helicopter pilot.
"This last deployment, he told me, 'Mom, I'm a little bored. There is not that much going on.' Now, I realize that was his way of taking care of this mother," said Nan Napier.
Last December, Charles Napier and his colleagues flew to a village west of Kandahar where three U.S. soldiers were critically injured. He described the chaos after he dropped off the Para rescuers.
"We made one more pass -- which was probably a little more dangerous than the others. Because, it was pretty close into the enemy. And we used our rounds to mark the enemy's position because they have tracers," said Charles Napier.
The 29-year-old El Paso native managed to put his helicopter between the enemy and friendly forces.
"Once we got into the zone, we stared taking fire again. We were shooting on the way out. Our lead helicopter came in second again. They did the same thing. Meanwhile, we were providing cover from the air," said Charles Napier.
And for that --- he was just awarded the rare Distinguished Flying Cross with valor.
"He had texted me he was going to get this award. And in my head, I guess I thought this was like another Boy Scout badge. But when I talked to some people, they said no -- this is not like another Boy Scout badge," said Nan Napier.
It's a big deal --- even if Charles Napier doesn't really think of himself as a hero.
"It didn't feel like it was anything extraordinary, because we are prepared. But, I guess on the other hand it is pretty extraordinary. I've never had a mission like that in my life," he said.
Nan Napier is excited about her son's next assignment.
Charles Napier will be an exchange helicopter pilot in the French Air Force based near Bordeaux -- far away from the gunfire.