Eleven Joint Base Lewis-McChord airmen received awards for gallantry and battlefield wounds this morning during a ceremony steeped in patriotic pomp and serious symbolism at McChord Field.
One of the recipients, Staff Sgt. Sean R. Harvell, received two Silver Stars earned during the same six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan during 2007.
Officials said he’s the only Air Force combat controller to earn two of the medals – the nation’s third highest military decoration – at the same time.
All 11 decorated airmen were members of the 22nd Special Tactics Squadron at McChord Field at the time of their combat heroism.
The men are combat controllers – battlefield airmen who fight alongside Army Special Forces soldiers and call in air strikes and medical evacuation helicopters.
Harvell, a 26-year-old native of Long Beach, Calif., put himself in grave danger twice during his 2007 deployment, each time fending off insurgents with a rifle, shotgun and grenades while simultaneously directing aircraft to fire on enemy forces, his medal citations say.
Staff Sgt. Evan P. Jones, 26, received both a Silver Star and a Bronze Star during the ceremony, presided over Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, the Air Force Chief of Staff.
Jones, of Colorado Springs, Colo., was decorated for actions in combat in September of 2008.
“He repeatedly exposed himself to accurate enemy fire as he maneuvered from vehicle to vehicle to coordinate the destruction of insurgent fighting positions” in Afghanistan, his Silver Star citation says.
Also receiving awards during the hour-long ceremony in a hangar at McChord Field today were:
• Master Sgt. Jeffrey Guilmain, Bronze Star with valor
• Staff Sgt. Simon Malson, Bronze Star with valor
• Staff Sgt. Christopher Martin, Bronze Star with valor
• Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Reiss, Bronze star with valor
• Staff Sgt. Christopher Keller, Bronze Star
• Staff Sgt. Sean Mulins, Bronze Star
• Senior Airman Matthew Matlock, Bronze Star
• Tech. Sgt. Douglas Neville, Purple Heart
• Tech. Sgt. Marc Tirres, Purple Heart