During the initial days of OperationENDURING FREEDOM, Chief Warrant Officer 5 Donald Tabron led a pair of U.S. Army
160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR) helicopters in a
daring rescue mission to locate a missing Navy SEAL on the peak of a mountain
named Takur Ghar in Eastern Afghanistan.
Born in 1956 in a suburb of Chicago,
Tabron enlisted in the Army following high school in 1975. He was initially
assigned to Fort Sill, Oklahoma as an artilleryman and then to Korea as a
personnel manager. In 1979 Tabron attended Warrant Officer Candidate School and
was appointed an aviation warrant officer in 1980 before attending flight
school. He was assigned as an OH-58A Kiowa scout pilot in Germany where he
gained valuable experience flying single pilot missions in a challenging
In 1992 Tabron assessed and was
selected to join the elite 160th SOAR (Abn) “Night Stalkers” to fly
MH-47 Chinooks. Within 12 days of September 11th 2001, he was
deployed in support of the War on Terror. On March 4th 2002, an MH-47 was
severely damaged by enemy fire while attempting to insert a team of Navy SEALs
on the peak of Takur Ghar in support of Operation Anaconda. During the aborted
insertion, Petty Officer First Class Neil Roberts fell from the back of the
helicopter onto the mountain top. CW5 Tabron was the Air Mission Commander of
the Quick Reaction Force tasked with inserting a team of Rangers to locate
Roberts on the mountain that would become known as “Roberts Ridge”. His MH-47
was shot down on the peak by overwhelming enemy fire, which began an 18 hour
battle for survival.
Despite receiving a gunshot wound in
the initial volley of fire, Tabron immediately assisted in securing the
perimeter of the crash site and gathering the wounded. An intense fire fight
ensued with a numerically superior and entrenched enemy who occupied
advantageous terrain. Tabron repeatedly exposed himself to withering heavy
machine gun and rocket propelled grenade fire while running through open
terrain in two feet of snow to provide ammunition resupply to the Rangers.
Tabron embodies the Night Stalker motto of “Night Stalkers Don’t Quit” and was
awarded the Silver Star for his heroic actions on Roberts Ridge. Following the
events at Takur Ghar, he continued to serve with the Night Stalkers and
completed multiple deployments in support of the War on Terror before retiring
from active duty in 2010.
Tabron accumulated almost 6,000
flight hours over his distinguished 34 year career. He is rated in the TH-55,
UH-1H, OH-58A/C, CH-47D and the MH-47D/E. He served as a Battalion and Brigade
Standardization Instructor Pilot, Instrument Flight Examiner, Operations
Officer and Battalion Senior Warrant Officer. He has deployed in support of
Operations PROVIDE COMFORT, UPHOLD DEMOCRACY, DESERT THUNDER, SOUTHERN WATCH,
and ENDURING FREEDOM.
Tabron resides in Crofton, Kentucky
with his wife Carolyn where he continues his service with the Night Stalkers as
a civilian contractor.