Peterson Air Force Base   Right Corner Banner
Join the Air Force

News > Local Airmen earn Bronze Star Medal for work in Iraq
 
Photos 
Bronze Star
Tech. Sgt. Michael Smith, 13th Air Support Operations Squadron (right) was presented the Bronze Star Medal Aug. 16 by Col. Jay Raymond, 21st Space Wing commander. Sergeant Smith received his award for the work he accomplished as joint terminal attack controller for Army Special Forces in Kandahar, Afghanistan, from April to October 2005. (U.S. Air Force photo by Larry Hulst)
Download HiRes
Local Airmen earn Bronze Star Medal for work in Iraq

Posted 8/21/2007   Updated 8/21/2007 Email story   Print story

    


by Corey Dahl
21st Space Wing Public Affairs


8/21/2007 - PETERSON AFB, Colo.  -- Some deeds -- like, say, safely calming rioting prisoners or destroying key enemy buildings -- just need a little more recognition than a pat on the back.

Capt. Kevin Lombardo, 21st Space Wing's Security Forces, and Tech. Sgt. Michael Smith, 13th Air Support Operations Squadron, got the recognition due to them recently when they were both awarded the Bronze Star Medal. The award, established in 1944, is given to servicemembers for meritorious achievement or service.

Captain Lombardo earned the award for serving as the battle captain of the Theatre Internment Facility operations center at Iraq's Camp Bucca from August 2006 to March 2007. Overseeing more than 10,500 detainees, Captain Lombardo supervised more than 400 compound searches in his time there, many of which turned up tunnels, hidden weapons and documents containing vital intelligence.

Captain Lombardo also helped keep the peace when 1,100 of the detainees rioted, using non-lethal force to end it with no injuries or loss of life. And - in between helping his team catch escapees and preventing future escapes - he developed and coordinated standard operating procedures for the facility's next leaders.

Despite all his work, though, Captain Lombardo said the decision to award him the Bronze Star upon his return to Peterson still came as a shock.

"It kind of took me by surprise," he said. "It's not something typically that you get every day, so it's really great."

Sergeant Smith received his award for the work he accomplished as joint terminal attack controller for Army Special Forces in Kandahar, Afghanistan, from April to October 2005. As a JTAC, Sergeant Smith would fly into intense battles, often under fire, to assess the situation and call in air support for the troops. As the fighting intensified, he would then join the Soldiers in close combat.

Sergeant Smith controlled more than 70 air support missions, launched on 14 himself, and is credited with the destruction of several enemy buildings and the killing of six enemy combatants.

Though he received a Bronze Star for assisting with the initial invasion of Iraq a few years ago, Sergeant Smith said receiving a second one has been just as meaningful.

"A lot of guys don't get recognized, so it was a tremendous honor to receive this award," he said. "I've gotten more than my fair share of recognition."

Sergeant Smith had his award presented to him by Col. Jay Raymond, commander of the 21st Space Wing, at the Aug. 16 Commander's Call here. Captain Lombardo received his medal in July at a 21st Space Wing staff meeting organized by Lt. Col. Thomas Allison, commander of 21st Security Forces, and Colonel Raymond.

Colonel Allison said, as modest as the recipients have been about their awards, receiving a Bronze Star is a big deal for any servicemember.

"They don't just hand these things out," he said. "They keep them pretty close, so anyone who receives one has obviously earned it." 

Comment on this story.



tabComments
No comments yet.  
Add a comment

 Inside Peterson AFB

ima cornerSearch


Site Map      Contact Us     Questions     USA.gov     Security and Privacy notice     E-publishing  
Suicide Prevention    SAPR   IG   EEO   Accessibility/Section 508   No FEAR Act