By Debbie Gregory.
Two former Special tactics airmen received Air Force Crosses on Thursday at Hurburt Field in Florida. Chief of Staff General David L. Goldfein who officiated at the ceremony and said, “What they did was the essence of special tactics.”
Military Connection wants to commend and congratulate both of these American heroes. They represent the best of the best and are true heroes who went above and beyond moving deliberately into harm’s way to protect others.
Retired Master Sgt. Keary Miller. a pararescueman assigned to the 123rd Special Tactics Squadron in 2002, fought in the 17-hour battle that has become known as the Battle of Robert’s Ridge.
Staff Sgt. Chris Baradat, a combat controller assigned to the 21st Expeditionary Special Tactics Squadron, directed 13 releases of 500-pound bombs and more than 1,100 rounds from A-10s and AC-130s during three hours of fighting in 2013.
These special tactics airmen had previously received Silver Stars for gallantry, but their medals were upgraded as a result of a Defense Department-mandated review of valor awards bestowed for actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Air Force Cross is the service’s second highest medal for valor in combat.
Both of these heroes are very humble and act like they did nothing special. Miller told reporters that “We don’t go out there picking missions to try to get a medal,” he said. “We go out there to perform what the Air Force has recruited us and trained us to do.”
Staff Sgt. Chris Baradat said, “A lot of the difficulty was just coordinating between different air assets that were coming in for strikes and having to move other aircraft out of the way,” Baradat told reporters during the teleconference. He said that “he was just one piece of the puzzle”.
America is in good hands with these incredible heroes among us. Those who serve and their loved ones sacrifice so much so the rest of us can be safe. We must never forget those who serve and wear our nation’s uniform.