'Portraits In Courage' Vol. V Highlights Air Force Heroes
(December 14, 2010)
|WASHINGTON (12/10/2010 - AFNS) --
The latest "Portraits in Courage" released Dec. 10
highlights 18 Airmen who demonstrated bravery and heroism in
the crucible of war as they repelled air and ground enemy
fire, led convoys through perilous terrain and assisted
The stories describe ordinary Americans who accomplished
extraordinary deeds despite harrowing challenges.
Featured Airmen include a captain who charged his convoy
vehicle toward enemy forces to stave off an ambush that
killed a guard and wounded others, and a master sergeant,
who despite his own injuries, established a casualty
collection point to save coalition members' and Afghan
soldiers' lives following an explosion.
In the preface, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton
Schwartz and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Roy
said the collection "serves as an unremitting tribute to the
spirit and accomplishments of all Airmen, poignantly
reminding us of the sacrifices that are required, by service
members and their families, to secure the many blessings of
The fifth volume highlights the following Airmen:
Maj. Thomas Bozung, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. The
HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter pilot from the 55th Rescue
Squadron maintained his hover and rotated the aircraft,
enabling his aerial gunner and pararescuemen to engage
insurgents while his flight engineer made a rescue attempt.
Staff Sgt. Deante Brooks, Tyndall AFB, Fla. When his wingman
was injured by a grenade, the 455th Expeditionary Security
Forces Squadron security forces specialist provided
emergency medical care and transported him to the base
hospital before re-engaging in the fight with a 50-caliber
machine gun until helicopter help arrived.
Tech. Sgt. Anthony Campbell Jr., Scott AFB, Ill. His
recovery and destruction of more than 280 pieces of ordnance
and bulk explosives stymied enemy bomb makers with the
disposal of more than 2,500 pounds of explosives used to
make IEDs. During a cordon and search mission in
Afghanistan, the 932nd Civil Engineer Squadron member lost
his life while attempting to steer his team clear of an
improvised explosive device at an entry control point.
Staff Sgt. Christopher Ferrell, previously at Charleston
AFB, S.C., now at Eglin AFB, Fla. as part of the 366th
Training Squadron, Detachment 3. Wearing only body armor and
night goggles for protection, the 437th Civil Engineer
Squadron explosive ordnance disposal team leader volunteered
to clear a lodged IED, protecting coalition forces and
Afghan civilians from bodily injury or death.
Staff Sgt. David Flowers, Barksdale AFB, La. During a sweep
for unexploded ordnance, the 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron EOD
technician, despite sustaining severe injuries from a
landmine, continued to perform his duties, even falling back
into the blast hole to prevent further explosions.
Master Sgt. Kenneth Gestring, Keesler AFB, Miss. The 81st
Surgical Operations Squadron anesthesia flight
superintendent established a casualty collection point under
fire without regard to his own safety and injuries he
sustained from a blast following an insurgent forces
Staff Sgt. Robert Gutierrez, previously stationed at Royal
Air Force Mildenhall, England, now stationed at Pope AFB,
N.C. The 352nd Operations Group special forces team member
directly engaged insurgents with his M-4 Carbine and
orchestrated eight strafing runs from A-10 Thunderbolt II
aircraft onto multiple targets threatening to overrun their
Staff Sgt. Brandon Harrell, previously stationed at Eglin
AFB, Fla., now stationed at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea.
The 96th Civil Engineer Squadron EOD technician returned
multiple times to an IED blast zone to clear the area of
additional insurgent devices, recover the remains of the
deceased, evacuate the wounded and conduct a post-blast
analysis to determine the enemy's tactics.
First Lt. Joseph Helton Jr., MacDill AFB, Fla. During his
extended deployment, the 6th Security Forces Squadron member
volunteered to remain in Iraq as the Detachment 2 Police
Transition Team flight commander. He died when an
explosively formed penetrator struck his vehicle during a
drawdown operation in Baghdad. During his deployment,
Lieutenant Helton trained more than 3,380 Iraqi policemen.
Lt. Col. John Holm, Fairchild AFB, Wash. Having already led
recovery operations for at least 20 survivors stranded in
poorly ventilated mountain tunnels following a series of
avalanches, the former 66th Training Squadron commander also
landed his helicopter to assist IED attack survivors, saving
three Soldiers' lives.
Airman 1st Class Benjamin Hutchins, Pope AFB, N.C. The
tactical air control party member deployed in support of the
82nd Airborne Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team and
encountered enemy fire during an attempt to rescue two
Soldiers who had fallen into a river while trying to
retrieve cargo containers.
Master Sgt. Neil Jones, previously stationed at Incirlik AB,
Turkey, now at Spangdahlem AB, Germany. Chief of the 39th
EOD flight, Sergeant Jones provided battlefield aid,
suppressed enemy fire and coordinated an alternative convoy
extraction location when a coalition team member broke his
ankle as the group tried to meet a ground convoy.
Senior Airman Jeffrey Leigh, Cannon AFB, N.M. Though he had
been injured just moments earlier when his vehicle struck a
roadside bomb, the vehicle operator tenaciously proceeded on
a 500-meter assault to locate insurgents and secure a
position for secondary friendly forces.
Master Sgt. Keith O'Grady, Hurlburt Field, Fla. The 23rd
Special Tactics Squadron member spent a sleepless 36 hours
working to extricate Haitian residents heavily entombed in
crumbled concrete buildings following the devastating 7.0
magnitude earthquake that struck the nation's capital,
Capt. Eric Quidley, Yokota AB, Japan. Deployed as the lead
logistician for the 2nd Brigade, 205th Corps in Afghanistan,
the captain, though outgunned and outmanned in an ambush,
sped and maneuvered his lead convoy vehicle toward
insurgents, forcing them to retreat and helping to keep the
bullet-ridden trucks from sustaining further fire.
First Lt. Roslyn Schulte, Hickam AFB, Hawaii. Killed in
action when an IED struck her vehicle, the 613th Air and
Space Operations Center intelligence, surveillance and
reconnaissance officer posthumously received the National
Intelligence Medal for Valor for her efforts to teach Afghan
military officials how to gather and interpret information.
Senior Airman Bradley Smith, Fort Riley, Kan. After the
blast from an IED killed two Soldiers and wounded one
Airman, the 10th Air Support Operations Squadron member
rushed waist-high into a creek to save his wingman and
recover the remains of the fallen. When Airman Smith arrived
at the casualty collection point, he and a platoon medic
were instantly killed from the blast of a second IED.
Staff Sgt. Alexander Yessayan, Robins AFB, Ga. Deployed as
part of a Provincial Reconstruction Team, the client systems
administrator maintained his position as Taliban fighters
engaged his convoy with rocket-propelled grenades, mortars
and AK-47s. Unfazed by a mortar's impact, Sergeant Yessayan
quickly responded with suppression gunfire from his machine
gun, causing the enemy forces to desist.
Click here to read the complete Portraits in Courage Vol. V
By USAF TSgt.
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs Office
Air Force News
Comment on this article