TSgt. Kenneth T. O'Brien. Courtesy photo via AFA.
TSgt. Kenneth T. O’Brien is one of the 12
Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2019, an award recognizing airmen
for superior leadership, job performance, community involvement, and
personal achievement over the preceding 12 months. The 12 Airmen of the
Year will be formally recognized at AFA’s Air,
Space & Cyber Conference Sept. 16-18 in National Harbor, Md.
Duty Title: Special Tactics Team Element Leader
Organization: 320th Special Tactics Squadron, Kadena AB, Japan
Home of Record: Bunker Hill, Ind.
TSgt. Kenneth O’Brien seamlessly embedded
with the Secret Service and Joint Special Operation Forces as part of a
President of the United States protection team, ensuring safety and
security during the first United States and North Korean negotiation
summit in history. While on temporary duty, he charged into a burning
vehicle in South Korea, where he extracted an injured civilian and
successfully performed life-saving procedures. Additionally, he played
an instrumental role in the Thailand Cave rescue mission. He was
essential in creating the rescue plan, which placed himself as the
furthest American inside the cave. During the mission, he also led the
effort to retrieve and successfully resuscitate a Thai Navy SEAL. His
team’s heroic efforts led to the rescue of 13 Thai civilians.
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