Capt. Carl Close and TSgt. James Thompson last month were awarded Bronze Star medals for their actions during 12-month deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq, respectively. Close, assigned to the 92nd Logistic Readiness Squadron at Fairchild AFB, Wash., received his medal Oct. 6 during a ceremony at the base. He earned it for his accomplishments while serving as the Embedded Training Team senior fuels mentor at the Afghan National Army’s forward support depot during a deployment to Kandahar Air Base. “All of our men and women were working hard out there; the medal speaks of their accomplishments and not just my own,” he said. Thompson, an anti-terrorism force protection specialist with the 425th Air Base Group at Izmir, Turkey, earned his medal for actions while deployed to Balad AB, Iraq. There, he planned and executed more than 497 unit combat patrols and facilitated tactical responses to 477 combat incidents, including 12 improvised explosive device attacks. He also helped to improve security at seven Iraqi police stations. “I am deeply honored to have been awarded the Bronze Star,” Thompson said during the Oct. 20 ceremony at Izmir where he received the honor. (Fairchild report by A1C Joshua Chapman and Izmir report by Tanju Varliki)
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.