A Fort Wayne built-in afresh accustomed the Bronze Star Medal for allowance actualize an aerodrome that helped U.S. armament defeat the Islamic State in Mosul.
Chief Master Sgt. Ricky Smith accustomed the accolade Nov. 21 with six added airmen from the 621 Contingency Response Wing at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.
Smith, a 1996 Wayne High Academy graduate, is based at Travis Air Force Base in California. He begin accepting the accolade – accustomed to associates of the United States Armed Armament for either ballsy achievement, ballsy service, admirable achievement, or admirable account in a action breadth – a base experience.
“It’s not about me,” said Smith, 37, who still has his ancestor and grandparents in the Ashley area. “It’s about the team.”
Smith deployed with 100 airmen as allotment of Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Northern Syria. He served as arch enlisted administrator and air busline administrator at Qayyarah West Airbase, Iraq, from October 2016 to January 2017. Within 48 hours of arrival, Smith begin and readied a 90,000-square-foot download and staging area, and allocated an 800,000-square-foot burden backyard that could board 20 C-130 aircraft loads.
“It’s eradicating evil,” he said of the mission. The Islamic State “had a broiled apple policy. (The team) helped deliver Mosul. The airmen did what was asked of them.”
Growing up in Waynedale he’d watch the F-16s aureate by the Indiana Air National Guard’s 122nd Fighter Wing and anticipation of acceptable an aircraft mechanic. He aing the Air Force in September 1996. He has deployed beyond six times, this actuality his third time in Iraq.
Over the years he’s absent abounding important events: his wife’s birthday, their bells anniversary, the aboriginal day of academy for his three children.
“I accept a 7- and a 5-year-old,” he said of his youngest children. “It’s adamantine for them to understand.” However, he can see his ancestors through FaceTime video chats.
While there wasn’t a lot of downtime, the accumulation begin some fun activities in the abandoned place, including cornhole afterwards the medical agents sewed calm some beanbags.
Thanksgiving came about anon afterwards they accustomed and they accepted to barbecue on acreage rations. However, the 101st Airborne Division brought in the acceptable turkeys.
IS fighters swept beyond Iraq’s arctic and west in the summer of 2014 capturing Iraq’s additional better burghal of Mosul and advancing to the edges of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. Later that year the U.S. began a attack of airstrikes adjoin the militants that fueled Iraqi territorial gains, acceptance the aggressive to balance Mosul in July of this year.
Having accustomed the Broze Star Smith will abrasion a award on the award arbor on his blend dress and account covering that signifies it, which will accompany others for his deployments and campaigns.
-The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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