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Airmen awarded Bronze Star Medals for Afghanistan actions
Air Force Master Sgt. Gerald Davis shows his son, Nehemiah Davis, a robot used by explosive ordnance disposal troops to disable improvised explosive devices just before he receives a Bronze Star Medal for his work in Afghanistan as an EOD supervisor. Air Force Staff Sgt. Wesley Kory also received a Bronze Star Medal for his work as an EOD team leader clearing 2,000 miles of urban terrain and supply routes. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Cynthia Spalding)
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Airmen awarded Bronze Star Medals for Afghanistan actions

Posted 7/23/2012   Updated 7/23/2012 Email story   Print story


by Air Force Staff Sgt. Cynthia Spalding
JBER Public Affairs

7/23/2012 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Air Force Col. Brian Duffy, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and 673d Air Base Wing commander, presented Bronze Star Medals July 9 for meritorious service to Air Force Master Sgt. Gerald Davis and Air Force Staff Sgt. Wesley Kory, both explosive ordnance disposal specialists, for service in Afghanistan.

"On behalf of the leadership here, I want to welcome you both back," Duffy said. "I'm glad you're safe, and congratulate you both on a job well done."

During the presentation, there were three highlighted themes that described the mission these two Airmen covered during their deployments.

Securing freedom of movement in a critical part of Afghanistan, joint interaction of deployed forces working together and building the capacity to someday turn Afghanistan back over to the Afghans have long been the pillars of operations in the fight there.

"The Bronze Star Medal is not something that is thrown around," Duffy said. "They come as a result of extreme effort on behalf of each service member through difficult conditions with the ability to integrate with Army units to provide safe routes of travel.

"This was all a big effort; not only for the maneuver units, but also so that logistic chains can get through unimpeded."

Duffy explains, when talking about a large region such as Afghanistan where the improvised explosive device threat is very high, the operating environment these Airmen were working in is uniquely challenging.

Duffy went on to explain that in Afghanistan, the majority of supplies are transported by roads because there are not a lot of strategic airlift opportunities.

The necessity of road travel means IEDs are a favorite tactic among insurgents seeking to cause injuries and damage to U.S. patrols.

The opportunity for mishap in their line of work is higher than in most areas.

"The enemy is always evolving their tactics and techniques making our EOD Airmen keep up with them as well," Duffy said.

"I didn't ever really realize that something I was doing was dangerous until I looked back on it," Davis said. "During the operation, I'm focused on what were supposed to be doing, keeping my team safe and making sure they have everything they need to complete their mission."

Davis performed command and control for the nine EOD teams during his deployment, supporting two Army and two Marine Corps route-clearance companies.

Kory was an EOD team leader covering 2,000 miles of urban terrain and dangerous supply routes.

Kory also was a part of the team that helped train and certify the first Afghan National Army EOD team capable of independent operations in Helmand Province.

Both Davis and Kory were assigned to the 466th EOD Operating Location Delta, Afghanistan, but at different times.

"For me, it's about the guys next to us," Kory said. "The most rewarding thing I saw out there was when I drove past a school yard with hundreds of kids outside playing.

"The Marines were providing security for them to be able to go to school, and we'd say 'that's why we're here, so those kids can get a good education' and being able to see that we are making a difference."

Both Davis and Kory expressed how it was a great since of pride and honor to receive the Bronze Star Medal when so many others have given their lives to do the job they do.
They gave all the credit to their teams and everyone they have worked with which made receiving this award possible.

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