Davis-Monthan Airman Awarded Bronze Star with Valor

Nicolo Solarino, a special agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, received the Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device, recognizing his heroism in helping to save a fellow airman’s life during an enemy rocket attack in Iraq back in 2004. The Air Force honored Solarino, who is currently assigned to Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., during a late November ceremony there, according to a Dec. 30 base release. On Sept. 11, 2004, Solarino, then a senior airman, was serving with a security forces unit at Balad AB, Iraq, when an enemy rocket detonated near his post, throwing him approximately 10 feet, states the release. Once he recovered, Solarino saw that now-retired SrA. Brian Koflage had sustained life-threatening injuries. Solarino and another airman performed emergency medical care on Koflage and shielded Koflage from enemy fire. “I was laying there, legs and hand gone, but I was still conscious. I just remember Nic telling me that everything was going to be OK while he worked to save my life,” recounted Koflage. Solarino stayed with Koflage until emergency medical personnel arrived and transported Koflage to a field hospital. (Davis-Monthan report by A1C Saphfire Cook) (For more background, see Arizona Daily Independent report.)