News Search


Airmen awarded Bronze Star, combat action medal

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jeremy McGuffin
  • 18th Wing Public Affairs
Three NCOs here were awarded the Bronze Star Medal, and one of them also received the Air Force Combat Action Medal, Feb. 27, for their actions while deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Master Sgts. Douglas Moore and Christopher Pollock, and Tech. Sgt. Stephen McGrath, all with the18th Civil Engineer Squadron, received the awards in a ceremony at the Kadena Officers' Club. 

Sergeant Moore, an explosive ordnance disposal technician with the 18th CES, was presented with the new AFCAM for his actions while returning enemy fire in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. 

When asked about how they felt to be presented with these awards they all agreed that it's a "singular award" for a "team effort." They said they wouldn't have earned the recognition without great work from their teammates. 

"I am honored to receive the decorations tonight," said Sergeant Moore. "The team I worked with made everything possible to get these. We had a lot going on and people got hurt, so this is an honor and tribute to my team." 

Sergeant Moore was deployed as an EOD team leader while embedded with the U.S. Army 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry.
He led six technicians on 360 EOD combat missions to recover and destroy improvised explosive devices. While conducting post-blast analysis of a site where five coalition forces members suffered severe injuries and their armored vehicle was destroyed, Sergeant Moore located a secondary IED within feet of convoy personnel. His quick actions in locating and mitigating the hazard undoubtedly saved the lives of nine other Soldiers who may have accidentally triggered the device. 

Sergeant Pollock, section chief for the 18th CES horizontal construction team, earned the BSM for his actions as a construction project manager in Afghanistan while assigned to the 1st Expeditionary RED HORSE Squadron in 2006. 

Sergeant Pollock said it's a compliment to the people who worked for him to be able to receive the award. 

"I had a great team between the Army, Air Force and Afghan nationals that worked for me," Sergeant Pollock said. "All I did was lead them and directed them to each job; they are the real winners of the award." 

Sergeant Pollock's 20-person horizontal construction team built small arms and heavy weapons ranges, barriers, storm and sewage drains, and force protection projects, to help secure the base. Sergeant Pollock also deployed his team to manage a second road construction team in a nearby village, effectively doubling the RED HORSE workload. While leading road construction teams he worked with the U.S. Army and an Afghani National Army platoon to execute more than 80 convoys, reconnaissance and construction missions. He also escorted area clearance teams to roadside sites where landmines were present. During a site survey he responded to an IED detonation in a nearby village, providing area security, and treating an injured civilian. The team returned safely from the mission and the Afghani survived. 

Sergeant McGrath, also an EOD technician with 18th CES, received the BSM for his work while deployed to Iraq in 2007 with the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing, and in support of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division. 

"It's an honor to get something like this," Sergeant McGrath said. "Our team did some amazing work and everyone on my team should have gotten this award. This definitely isn't a singular award." 

Sergeant McGrath led his EOD team on 70 combat missions, eliminated 60 IEDs, 16 pieces of unexploded ordnance and 54 weapons caches. He also led his team on a mission to an IED cache. After conducting a dismounted patrol through a kilometer of rough terrain carrying explosives and equipment, he manually cleared a safe path to the cache site. While there, he led his security team in finding two other nearby caches. After conducting a thorough search of the area ensuring there were no additional IEDs, he linked all three caches for detonation, thereby eliminating seven IEDs 

The sergeants have advice for those who may deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan. They recommend Airmen know their jobs, maintain a positive attitude and stay current on all their training. 

It's about getting the job done and get home safely, they said.