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Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James presents Col. Christopher Barnett, an Air War College faculty member, the Silver Star and the Silver Star first oak leaf cluster Jan. 19, 2017. James chose her last day as the Secretary to honor Barnett for his gallantry in connection with 2009 military operations, as well as to announce upgraded medals awarded to seven additional airmen. Air Force photo by Melanie Rodgers Cox.

​Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James on Friday presented the first two of nine upgraded valor awards that were selected as part of a long Defense Department-wide review of medals earned in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Eight airmen have been selected to have their valor awards upgraded, including two Air Force Crosses, Silver Stars, and Distinguished Flying Crosses with Valor, according to an Air Force news release. Former SSgt. Christopher Baradat, who has since separated from the service, and retired MSgt. Keary Miller were selected to receive the Air Force Cross, the service’s second-highest award for valor behind the Medal of Honor. Baradat initially received a Silver Star for his 2013 actions calling in air support while under attack with US Army Special Forces in Afghanistan. Miller initially received the Silver Star as well for his actions as part of the 2002 “Battle of Robert’s Ridge” in Takur Ghar, Afghanistan. Col. Christopher Barnett, retired Lt. Col. Gregory Thornton, retired Lt. Col. Alan Botine, and retired MSgt. Kristopher Parker will receive Silver Stars under the review. Barnett will receive two Silver Stars for two separate actions. Lt. Col. James Holder and Col. David Kennedy will be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor; Kennedy posthumously. The review so far has not resulted in an airman being upgraded to receive the Medal of Honor.