Pararescueman Decorated for Valor

SSgt Andrew Rios, a pararescueman with the 38th Rescue Squadron at Moody AFB, Ga., has received the Bronze Star Medal with Valor for combat action in Afghanistan in 2009. An HH-60G Pave Hawk door gunner, Rios covered the evacuation of wounded members of a convoy after an improvised explosive device detonated. Despite a jammed weapon, Rios returned fire with his personal weapon, covering a second Pave-Hawk, PEDRO 15, as it extracted the wounded. When small-arms fire struck PEDRO 15 on egress, forcing an emergency landing, Rios sprinted from his helicopter to provide aid to the crew, volunteering to stay at the crash site until all the wounded were evacuated. “When under fire, he only saw the tasks that needed to be accomplished and did exactly what he needed to do to complete them and save lives,” said CMSgt. Matthew Wells, 38th RQS enlisted manager. Rios’ award ceremony was on March 4. (Moody report by A1C Nicholas Benroth)