Lt. Gen. Eric E. Fiel, Air Force Special Operations Command commander, pins the Silver Star Medal on to Staff Sgt. Adam Krueger of Joint Base Leiw’s McChord’s 22nd Special Tactics Squadron. Photo by Air Force Staff Sgt. Sean Tobin.
The chief of Air Force Special Operations visited Joint Base Lewis-McChord last week to pin a Silver Star on an airman who guided NATO air power through a 12-hour firefight with Afghan insurgents almost three years ago.
Staff Sgt. Adam Krueger of the 22nd Special Tactics Squadron earned recognition for his role in a battle in northern Afghanistan alongside a Special Operations detachment and a platoon from an Army field artillery unit. Krueger’s unit partners with infantrymen on the ground by directing fire from Air Force jets.
The Army and Special Operations teams took fire from all directions on that May 2010 mission as they traveled to a suspected Taliban friendly village in Badghis Province, according to this account from two Air Force officers.
Krueger risked his life to call in air support at “danger close” distances. He directed an F-15 strafing run, coordinated an air attack to enable the rescue of two wounded soldiers and marked a landing zone for a medical evacuation helicopter.
“Repeatedly exposing oneself to enemy fire after being pinned down by a coordinated, lethal ambush, coordinating for nine danger-close air strikes which allowed your teammates to seek cover and recover wounded personnel, and providing suppressive fire while simultaneously marking a landing zone to enable a life-saving patient evacuation, without regard to one’s own safety, as Staff Sgt. Adam Krueger did, is more than just doing your job,” said Lt. Gen. Eric Fiel, commander of Air Force Special Operations.
In that battle, Krueger’s and his partner Senior Airman Zachary Jacobs helped kill more than 50 Taliban fighters as he protected 18 U.S. service members and 22 Afghan soldiers, according to the account in Armed Forces Journal.
Fiel last week also pinned Bronze Star medals on a dozen of Krueger’s teammates in Special Tactics Squadron. The squadron reports to the 24th Special Operations Wing, which the Air Force says is its most decorated unit since Vietnam.
“We are proud to see their sacrifice recognized. It gives us a chance to pause for just a moment to thank these special operators and, more importantly, to recognize their families, who bear the burden of this relentless mission,” said Col. Robert Armfield, commander of the 24th Special Operations Wing.
Bronze Star with Valor recipients:
Master Sgt. Douglas Neville
Tech. Sgt. Michael Orlando
Staff Sgt. Joshua Busch
Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Roberts
Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Salazar
Staff Sgt. Michael Wilhelm
Bronze Star recipients:
Captain Joshua Barlow
Tech. Sgt. Michael A. Kurta
Tech. Sgt. Matthew McKenna
Senior Airman Benjamin De Boer
Senior Airman Christopher Kagan
Senior Airman John Moyle