2 Lakenheath airmen receive awards for valor
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.”