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​​Maj. Gen. Harry Polumbo (left) smiles with MSgt. Thomas Case during the Silver Star presentation ceremony at Pope Field, N.C., Nov. 13, 2014. Air Force photo by A1C Ryan Callaghan

MSgt. Thomas Case, a Tactical Air Control Party airman with the 18th Air Support Operations Group at Pope Field, N.C., received a Silver Star for his heroic actions in Afghanistan in June 2009. Maj. Gen. ​Harry Polumbo, 9th Air Force commander, presented Case with the medal during a ceremony at Pope on Nov. 13, according to a rele​ase. This was the second Silver Star the Air Force has awarded Case. The medal is the third highest military decoration for valor. "Master Sergeant Case answered his nation's call and defended his country with his life. He is the embodiment of our legacy of valor and will always be part of our proud heritage,” said Polumbo. Case accompanied a team of Army rangers that went into the high mountains of Afghanistan to destroy enemy camps. During the ensuing firefight, Case frequently exposed himself to enemy fire to ensure he knew the enemy’s position to call in air strikes and could see where the friendly munitions were hitting. He called in gunship support dangerously close to his position, stepped forward into danger to protect his ground force commander, and climbed a steep incline under direct fire to help fend off approaching insurgents from close range.​