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Col. David Kumashiro (right), 62nd Airlift Wing commander, thanks TSgt. Matthew McKenna, 22nd Special Tactics Squadron combat controller, for his service and actions in combat, which earned him the Silver Star, during the 22nd STS awards ceremony Aug. 18, 2014, at JB Lewis-McChord, Wash. Air Force photo by SSgt. Russ Jackson.

Six airmen from the 22nd Special Tactics Squadron at JB Lewis-McChord, Wash., recently were presented a total of eight medals, including one Silver Star, for their efforts in combat in Afghanistan. TSgt. Matthew McKenna, a combat controller, was awarded the Silver Star, the third highest award for valor, for his bravery during a 13-hour firefight with Afghan insurgents. Supporting ground troops during the battle, McKenna called in air strikes and two aerial resupply drops to replenish ammunition. He then exposed himself to heavy enemy fire to coordinate “danger-close” air strikes to counter an intense assault. McKenna also was awarded a Bronze Star Medal for other missions supporting ground troops in Afghanistan. Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold, commander of Air Force Special Operations Command, also presented the Bronze Star Medal with Valor to combat controller SSgt. James Sparks; as well as Bronze Star Medals to TSgt. Bridger Morris, a combat controller; TSgt. Tyler Britton and TSgt. Joseph Luera, both tactical air control party members, and an Air Force Combat Action Medal to combat controller SSgt. Douglas Perry and Luera. (AFSOC release)