TSgt. James Thompson, an anti-terrorism force protection specialist with the 425th Air Base Group at Izmir, Turkey, received the Bronze Star medal in October for his efforts during a 12-month deployment to Joint Base Balad, Iraq. According to a Dec. 22 release from the group, Thompson planned and executed more than 497 unit combat patrols during his deployment and facilitated tactical responses to 477 combat incidents, including 12 improvised explosive device attacks. He also identified force protection shortfalls at seven Iraqi police stations and coordinated more than $2 million worth of improvement contracts to enhance the stations’ defenses and operations. “I am deeply honored to have been awarded the Bronze Star,” said Thompson said. Col. Richard Robel, 425 ABG commander, said Thompson’s “selflessness and dedication” is a “credit to Air Force defenders.”
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.