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Airman Awarded For Bravery 4 Years After Military Chopper Crash

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FORT MEADE, Md. (WJZ) — Hero’s honor. A four year wait to receive the Soldier’s Medal finally comes to an end for a military photojournalist stationed in Afghanistan.

As Gigi Barnett reports, it took his parents, commanding officers and a U.S. senator to get his medal approved.

May 3, 2010 — Staff Sergeant Steven Doty had just completed a military mission in Afghanistan when the Air Force photojournalist saw a military helicopter crash.

Three crew members were on board. The pilot lost control of the aircraft. Doty was the first to reach the military chopper.

“It’s just one of those moments you just act on instinct and you act on training and you don’t really have the time to assess your own life,” Doty said.

Doty pulled the dazed crew members out and tried to shut off the chopper. Nothing worked, so he called his dad–a former military pilot.

It is, in part, why Doty selected his father–retired Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Doty–to pin him with the military’s Soldier’s Medal at Fort Meade.

It’s the highest award given for non-combat bravery.

“I was not surprised in the least to hear he was the first one to the helicopter and that he broke the window open and did what he did,” Doty’s father said.

Lt. Col. Doty says his son is known for taking that kind of life-saving action. He did before back in high school.

“If we passed a car accident… ‘Dad, you’ve got to stop, you’ve got to stop!’ And he would always want to try to help the people,” he said.

It took Doty four years to get the Soldier’s Medal. His paperwork got lost in the shuffle.

Doty says he never thought about the possibility of receiving an award, just the urgency of saving lives.

“If you see somebody hurting, you’d want them to save you. You’d want them to help you out,” he said.

Staff Sergeant Doty comes from a military family. In addition to his father, his two brothers and wife also serve in the armed forces.

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