On Sept. 27, 2014, a team of U.S. Special Operations troops was dropped into a volatile village in Afghanistan’s Helmand province. The U.S. military had withdrawn thousands of troops from the country in the previous year, and the mission called for 21 Americans and about 60 Afghan commando counterparts to clear a bazaar of weapons and insurgents, and then get out.
It turned into a fight for their lives, three U.S. Special Operations airmen involved in the battle recalled Tuesday. The insurgents, numbering close to 100, sprung a fierce attack in which they not only launched a barrage of fire on the Americans, but made plans on the radio to overrun their position and take them hostage, the airmen said.
Outstanding, gentlemen. That’s certainly upholding the highest standards and traditions of the service.
I think it was Doctrine Man on Facebook who correctly noted that Afghanistan and Iraq have seen a cultural shift of sorts for the Air Force. In wars past, the officers of the Air Force faced risk of death, injury, or capture. It was rare that enlisted men were at significant risk.
That situation is reversed, with enlisted members of the JTAC community, as well as a few others, facing the greatest risks in theater, and consequently, the greater number of awards.