Staff Sgt. Nicholas Brunetto, a pararescueman with the 38th Rescue Squadron at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., received the Silver Star on Oct. 29 in recognition of heroism displayed during a February 2020 ambush in Afghanistan.
“While on a mission, Brunetto and the U.S. Army Special Forces team he was attached to were ambushed, leaving eight critically-injured U.S. and three partner force soldiers,” according to a 23rd Wing press release.
Brunetto—deployed in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and Resolute Support—quickly launched into action to help them make it out alive.
This entailed running through live fire multiple times—first, to get the medical tools necessary to perform a life-saving blood transfusion on one of them, and again to carry multiple troops to an extraction point so they could be evacuated by helicopter, the release said.
When all was said and done, 11 troops were successfully evacuated.
“Nick was trained and well equipped like every Airmen we send into combat,” 15th Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Chad P. Franks said at the ceremony. “Today, we recognize him for the courage he had to act. That is heroism. This Silver Star is a testament to all of the training and superior leadership that led up to Feb. 8, 2020, and for the people who fought next to him that day and lived to tell the tale.”
Brunetto described the battlefield achievement as a team effort.
“The team as a whole reacted really well to what the situation was and were able to get all the guys out of there fairly quickly,” he said in the release.