Karl H. Maier is a courageous and accomplished Army Aviator. Within a thirty-eight year military career, he flew major combat operations in UH-60s and MH-6s. Maier enlisted in the Army in 1975, attending Military Police School and Airborne School. In March 1984, after a short break in service, he completed Warrant Officer Candidate School and received his Aviator wings. He then began an assignment as a Scout Platoon Pilot in Alpha Troop, 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry, Ft. Bragg, North Carolina (Airborne).
In July 1987, Maier applied and was accepted for service in the 160th Special Operations Aviation Group (Airborne). During the following twenty-six years, Maier participated in numerous operations, including Operations JUST CAUSE, DESERT SHIELD, DESERT STORM, GOTHIC SERPENT (Somalia), UPHOLD DEMOCRACY, JOINT ENDEAVOR, ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF), and IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF). He progressed quickly to become a Flight Lead, Maintenance Test Pilot, Instructor Pilot, and Standardization Pilot.
In Fall of 1993, Maier was assigned to the task force deployed to Somalia to capture warlord Mohammed Farrah Aidid. On October 3rd, 1993, American soldiers fought their bloodiest battle in decades when US Army Rangers, Special Forces, and Navy SEALs launched a mission to capture key leaders of an armed insurgent force. As the Assault Flight Lead in the MH-6 Little Bird (Special Patrol Insertion/ Extraction), Maier successfully led the assault package to their target. While waiting for the exfiltration call, he witnessed a Black Hawk, “Super 61,” take enemy fire. Without hesitation, and against the direction of the Command and Control element, Maier flew his MH-6 at 200 feet over the hostile streets of Mogadishu attempting to maintain sight of the Black Hawk. Upon reaching the downed Black Hawk, he landed in an adjacent intersection where he and his co-pilot, CW4 Keith Jones, worked to extract injured personnel. As Jones extracted two of the crewmembers, Maier piloted the MH-6 while successfully targeting oncoming enemy personnel with his MP5 pistol. Weathering ever-intensifying enemy fire, he was able to extract the two crewmembers to a nearby Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (sadly, one crewmember was fatally wounded).
For his actions, Maier received the Silver Star and two Air Medals with Valor. After returning from Somalia, Maier was assigned to training and administrative posts. In 2007, he returned to Alpha Company, 1st Battalion where he would deploy seventeen more times in support of OEF and OIF. On March 13th, 2014, CW5 Karl Maier retired, marking the end of a distinguished and selfless Army career. He is now enjoying retirement, traveling with his wife Cynthia, and spending time with his sons and grandson.
CW5 Maier’s MH-6 Little Bird is depicted on its ingress to the crash site of the downed Black Hawk, “Super 61,” to extract its two injured crewmembers.