Lt. Gen. John Bradley, head of Air Force Reserve Command, has awarded MSgt. Bob Jackson, a munitions maintainer with the 442nd Fighter Wing at Whiteman AFB, Mo., the Airman’s Medal for his quick actions to defuse a white phosphorous mortar round while deployed to Kirkuk AB, Iraq, in 2003. A Nov. 16 AFRC news release quotes Jackson as saying: “I didn’t have time to think. It’s just action and reaction; that’s the only way you can survive out there.” Tasked to help dispose of more than 300,000 pounds of munitions stockpiled by the Iraqi army, Jackson spotted a smoking projectile in the stockpile, recognized the imminent danger, grabbed it, ran, and tossed it into a slough of water to snuff it out. Jackson said, “I was just doing what needed to be done.”
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.