Greenbrier County veteran inducted into Army Aviation Hall of Fame
PENCE SPRINGS, W.Va. (WVVA) - A Greenbrier County man was recently inducted into the Army Aviation Hall of Fame.
You may know Michael Gwinn as the operator of the Hinton-Alderson Airport in Pence Springs. But what you may not know is he is the man behind some of the most advanced military reconnaissance technology used in missions across the globe.
In 1993, 19 soldiers lost their lives in the Black Hawk Down incident in Somalia. But it was Gwinn’s work in helping to create the military’s first ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) technology that helped the more than hundred officers who survived combat enemy forces on the ground.
For more than 17 hours, Gwinn helped his comrades see live video of the hostile enemy territory that had surrounded them. It was the first time the technology had been used in combat.
“That whole battle I was beaming down video from a helicopter so they could use it,” said Gwinn in an interview with WVVA News.
The technology was the precursor to the drone technology eventually used to help capture Osama Bin Laden.
In inducting Gwinn into the Army Aviation Hall of Fame, organizers also credited him with developing tactics and techniques that are still widely used in covert operations today, but many of those accomplishments remain classified.
“I never thought I’d be living and say I’m in a museum, but I’m in a museum now,” said Gwinn.
A picture of Gwinn is now on permanent display in the Army Aviation Association Hall of Fame in Fort Rucker, Alabama.
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