TSgt. Clinton Beck, a pararescueman with the 24th Special Tactics Squadron at Pope AFB, N.C., has won the Air Force’s 2008 Vanguard Award for his heroic actions in saving the lives of two Afghan girls wounded during a firefight between his unit and enemy combatants in April 2007 in Afghanistan. “I got recognized for the award, but I’ve got 25 guys on my team who are doing the same thing every day,” he said. The Noncommissioned Officers Association sponsors the award, which recognizes an NCO who has performed a heroic act, on or off duty, resulting in saving lives or preventing serious injury. Heroism is no stranger to this unit. Indeed, TSgt. Davide Keaton, a PJ like Beck, last month received the Air Force Sergeants Association’s 2008 Pitsenbarger Award for his heroism in saving the lives of three Afghan children and two Afghan women being used as human shields during a firefight. (Includes Hurlburt report by Capt. Amy Cooper)
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.