Combat Controller Earns Two Bronzes

SSgt. Dean Conner has received two Bronze Star medals, one with Valor, for his actions while deployed to Southwest Asia operations. During the mission for which he received the Valor award, the combat controller with the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Fla., was knocked unconscious from the impact of a rocket-propelled grenade on his vehicle, but he regained consciousness and began to return fire, keeping the enemy from surrounding his team, and directed air strikes onto enemy locations. A week later, during an ambush, he returned fire and continued to call in close air support even after being wounded and undergoing medical treatment on the spot. “What you do not read in the citation is that right up until the time he was airlifted out for his wounds he was thinking about his team’s welfare above his own,” said Col. Bradley Thompson, 720th Special Tactics Group commander. Thompson added, “His last words to the support aircraft overhead were to please be sure his team got out of there safely.” (Hurlburt report by MSgt. Buffy Galbraith)