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Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin, left, 3rd Air Force and 17th Expeditionary Air Force commander, awarded Master Sgt. Tracy Debbs, center, with a Bronze Star Medal with V device and Staff Sgt. Nicholas Miller, with a Distinguished Flying Cross with V device at RAF Lakenheath, England, on Wednesday, June 19, 2013. Debbs and Miller, both with the 56th Rescue Squadron,  helped save 10 wounded coalition soldiers in Afghanistan last year.
Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin, left, 3rd Air Force and 17th Expeditionary Air Force commander, awarded Master Sgt. Tracy Debbs, center, with a Bronze Star Medal with V device and Staff Sgt. Nicholas Miller, with a Distinguished Flying Cross with V device at RAF Lakenheath, England, on Wednesday, June 19, 2013. Debbs and Miller, both with the 56th Rescue Squadron, helped save 10 wounded coalition soldiers in Afghanistan last year. (Adam L. Mathis/Stars and Stripes)

RAF LAKENHEATH, England — Two airmen received medals Wednesday for helping to save the lives of 10 coalition soldiers who were wounded in an ambush in Afghanistan last year.

During a ceremony Wednesday at RAF Lakenheath, Master Sgt. Tracy Debbs received a Bronze Star with V device and Staff Sgt. Nicholas Miller received a Distinguished Flying Cross with V device from Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin, 3rd Air Force and 17th Expeditionary Air Force commander.

Both serve with the 56th Rescue Squadron at Lakenheath.

“This is fairly unusual to present a Distinguished Flying Cross and a Bronze Star with valor,” Franklin said during the ceremony.

On Aug. 4, Debbs led a team to help extract a coalition convoy that had been ambushed on a cliff road in Afghanistan, according to the award citation. It said that he called for fire from nearby helicopters, leaving his covered-and-concealed position twice to identify the location of the enemy, and provided landing zone security.

“It’s not … an award for me, I couldn’t have done it without the men I had with me,” Debbs said.

Miller participated in the same engagement, helping to extract the wounded by air, according to the citation. He inserted a breathing device in one patient and, on the last pickup, his team came under machine-gun fire, but he continued to provide care.

“We never leave anybody behind on the battlefield; that’s what America does,” Franklin said. “We go get everybody, and you guys went to extreme measures to get your fellow coalition members out. Thank you for your service.”

mathis.adam@stripes.com

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