Three Air Force combat controllers were decorated May 6th for saving the lives of more than 80 teammates and prevailing in a battle that arithmetic and geometry would have predicted going another way. Just goes to show how little science matters in the face of superior tactics, training, and fighting spirit.
Senior Airman Dustin Temple braved enemy fire repeatedly and saved the life of a teammate by dragging him through a hail of enemy fire. He received the Air Force Cross. Technical Sergeant Matthew Greiner and Senior Airman Goodie Goodman displayed exceptional gallantry and heroism in the same 2-day firefight. Each was decorated with a Silver Star.
Said Navy Vice Admiral Sean Pybus, Deputy Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command:
“[W]e have several thousands of warriors, but we have very few such as these three. Special Tactics Airmen who turned the tide of a battle with heroism and extraordinary competence
[T]his entire episode of 48 hours is a case study of toughness, teamwork, and commitment … meeting and beating a numerically superior enemy on their own turf.
This…this is why our enemies do not choose to take us head on. Men like these will make them pay.“
In visiting merciless competence upon their enemies while guiding them to the gates of Hell using superior air-ground coordination, these men remind us of one of the core reasons we have an Air Force. They prove once again that owning the sky and the clock can render traditional dimensions of battle utterly meaningless. They also remind us what’s at stake in our Air Force’s ability to translate a strategic vision into the fulfillment of operational and tactical contracts upon which partners can rely.
It’s a good moment for all in blue to pause, absorb the meaning of the deeds executed by these three airmen, and reflect on the solemn duty airmen so ably fulfill in our nation’s defense. It’s only one part of what the service does, but the duty to lend our nation’s airpower advantage to the inevitable fighting done by our ground force partners is core to our Air Force’s legacy, identity, and contribution to national defense.