The Air Force has awarded a Bronze Star medal to Capt. Blair Byrem for his meritorious service while deployed to Afghanistan for six months as an electronic warfare officer for the US Army. Byrem is a maintenance operations officer with Det. 1 of the 16th Electronic Warfare Squadron at Tyndall AFB, Fla. While deployed, Byrem was instrumental in identifying a new enemy tactic, technique, and procedure (TTP) that had led to a critical vulnerability enabling the enemy to complete two successful remotely controlled improvised explosive devices. Byrem and his team developed an emergency change to the TTP for the Afghanistan area of operation. The Air Force also awarded a Bronze Star to Special Agent Richard Cox, with Det. 1, Air Force Office of Special Investigation at Hill AFB, Utah, for his actions while deployed to Iraq. Cox served as a combat leader to 14 agents and 30 tactical security element operators who conducted 122 combat missions throughout Kirkuk Province, leading to the capture of 35 terrorists. He also personally managed production of 345 intelligence reports which indentified 1,190 high-threat insurgents and worked with local Iraqi police chiefs in the discovery and seizure of 672 rocket blast fuses. (Tyndall report by SSgt. Joshua Stevens; Hill report)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.