Bronze Star honors sailor’s Iraq service
A Navy lieutenant was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor device Monday on Okinawa for the very dangerous work of eliminating explosives in the Anbar province of Iraq in 2007.
But for Lt. Jonathan Haase, the deployment had been a "lot of fun," he said. He added he never thought he would earn such a high award when he joined the U.S. Navy.
The sailor said he was most grateful for something else — having his wife at the award ceremony.
"My wife was home for the kids and it was a way to thank her for all the support that she gave me," Haase said. "For me, it was really gratifying that she was there."
Haase was given the award for routinely exposing himself to grave and immediate danger as the officer-in-charge of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit Five Detachment One, which operated in Iraq from June until December 2007.
The medal is the fourth-highest combat award of the U.S. Armed Forces and is awarded to those who distinguish themselves for heroic achievement or meritorious achievement.
Haase is authorized to wear the Valor device on the medal, which signifies an act of combat heroism and distinguishes it from medals earned for meritorious service, according to Command Task Force 76 public affairs.
Haase’s three teams handled 69 explosive device responses, 81 cache sweeps, 47 unexploded ordnance responses, 43 post-blast analyses and 33 other combat missions, CTF 76 reported.
"There wasn’t a guy on my team who didn’t do what I did," he said. "I am so proud of every one of those guys."
Haase is now the staff EOD officer to Rear Adm. Richard Landolt, Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility on Okinawa.