A special tactics combat controller will receive the Air Force Cross on Dec. 10 for his actions in a 2017 battle in Afghanistan, where he is credited with protecting more than 150 friendly forces and destroying 11 fighting positions over the course of an eight-hour fight.
Staff Sgt. Alaxey Germanovich, from the 26th Special Tactics Squadron, will receive the second-highest award for valor from Air Force Secretary Barbara M. Barrett during a ceremony at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M.
On April 8, 2017, he was attached to a team of U.S. Army Special Forces Soldiers and Afghan National Army commandos on a mission to clear a valley in Nangarhar Province. When the team was ambushed, Germanovich repeatedly exposed himself to sniper and machine gun fire, directing multiple danger close airstrikes from a nearby AC-130 gunship.
The team used all their rifle ammunition and grenades, then drew pistols to try to suppress the approaching enemy force, according to an Air Force Special Operations Command release. Germanovich directed the team to withdraw, and he carried a casualty 700 meters to a helicopter landing zone while directing close air support.
Since 2001, 11 Airmen have received the Air Force Cross for valor in combat, second only to the Medal of Honor, including 10 awards for actions in Afghanistan and one for actions as part of Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria, according to a Pentagon tally. The Air Force Special Tactics community has received more than 50 Silver Stars, the third-highest award for valor, since 2001.
The Air Force in recent years has been reviewing its valor awards for possible upgrade, with Master Sgt. John Chapman in 2018 receiving the Medal of Honor posthumously. Air Force Special Operations Command boss Lt. Gen. James C. Slife said in September that review is winding down.