Three Bronzes for Combat Controllers

Three combat controllers with the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Fla., received Bronze Star medals, two with valor. TSgt. Christopher Grove—Bronze Star with Valor—directed the release of some 20,000 pounds of ordnance to destroy an 80-strong enemy force that outnumbered his patrol in Afghanistan and, in another attack, directed airstrikes during a four-day combat patrol, while under fire himself. SSgt. David Solis—Bronze Star with Valor—directed close-air-support strikes during 20 patrols, including three with troops-in-contact situations; on two other occasions he was returning fire when he directed airstrikes, including one in which he moved during a firefight to the top of a base tower to more accurately direct the aircraft. SSgt. Joseph Hepler was the third Bronze Star recipient. (Hurlburt report by MSgt. Buffy Galbraith)