Major Duane Liptak Jr.

Bronze Star Military Award

US Marines, War on Terror - Iraq/Afghanistan, F18 Pilot, Air Medal, Bronze Star

Veteran Duane Liptak
Veteran Duane Liptak

Honoring - Major Duane Liptak Jr. - MZHS Hero of Air Power

Usually aviators are awarded Air Medals for their heroism in flying combat missions, and infantry soldiers are awarded the Bronze Star for their heroism in combat on the ground. Then there is the special hero who distinguishes himself by being awarded both the Air Medal and Bronze Star during their military service. Duane “DJ” Liptak, Jr, son of Duane and Rose Ann Carpin Liptak of Weedville, was one such hero. DJ was born and raised in Weedville and graduated from St Marys High School in 1992. He then attended Penn State University where he graduated with a degree in Justice in 1997. Soon after graduation, he enlisted the US Marine Corps.

His first duties in the Marines were as an enlisted infantryman where he became an expert in marksmanship, close quarters combat, and tactical fighting which would be very helpful to him in a few years. Duane attended OCS and the flight school to become an F/A-18 Hornet (like the Blue Angels fly) pilot with the callsign “Dr. Evil”. He was assigned to the Marine All Weather Flight Attack Squadron (VMFA (AW)-224) also known as the “Fighting Bengals” based at Marine Corps Air Station, Beaufort, South Carolina. As a USMC F/A18D fighter pilot, Captain “Evil” Liptak was deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005. There he flew 112 combat missions and was awarded six Air Medals.

In his next assignment in the War of Terrorism, he deployed twice on the ground as the Operations Officer and a Forward Air Controller/ Air Officer in the 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan from 2006 -2008. While serving there as more of an infantry officer than pilot, Captain Liptak and his Marine unit who were supporting the Afghan and US Army units as they were pinned down and over run by the Taliban, encountered heavy enemy firefighting southwest of Shewan, Afghanistan on May 28, 2008. Through his heroism in combat against the enemy, Duane was awarded the Bronze Star with “V” for heroism. He also was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal and a Combat Action Ribbon among several other ribbons and medals. 

Contrary to pilots not wanting to jump out of a perfectly good airplane, “Evil”, the Marine, even attended the US Army Airborne School in 2007. Major Liptak’s last station was in Beaufort, SC where he continued as an active F18 pilot and held Marine aviation management positions. During his service, Duane married Jamie Caso of California and now has four sons. After retiring from the Marines, Duane has now begun a career, following his college degree, as the Law Enforcement Division Coordinator of Brownells in Iowa. Duane spends much of his free time with his family and children. He also enjoys shooting, hunting, reloading- all of which fits with his current company, and he likes working on his mini-farm. 

The Mt Zion Historical Society is very proud to honor Major Duane Liptak, Jr- a distinguished US Marine pilot and a Bronze Star Special Operations Officer- as one of our “Heroes of Air Power”.

Lest We Forget…