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Just prior to his all-hands call at Naval Base Guam on Friday, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Mullen, left, presented the Bronze Star Medal to Chief Petty Officer Thomas Ligon, of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 5. Ligon was recognized for heroic achievement while serving in Iraq.

Just prior to his all-hands call at Naval Base Guam on Friday, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Mullen, left, presented the Bronze Star Medal to Chief Petty Officer Thomas Ligon, of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 5. Ligon was recognized for heroic achievement while serving in Iraq. (Frank Whitman / Special to S&S)

More than half a year in Iraq and 106 encounters with explosive ordnance paved the way for Chief Petty Officer Thomas Ligon to receive a Bronze Star Medal.

It was hand-delivered at Naval Base Guam on Friday by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Mullen.

Ligon said although he was honored by the recognition, “it was more of a team effort. The team worked real hard and ran hard every day out there. Thankfully, everybody on my team came back safely.”

The sailor, with Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 5, was recognized for heroic achievement in Iraq from September 2004 to March 2005. During those months, Ligon and his four-man team completed 106 explosive ordnance disposal missions.

“On numerous occasions,” his citation read, “his team was subjected to direct fire while rendering safe and disposing of 37 improvised explosive devices, completing 20 unexploded ordnance response missions resulting in the disposal of over 900 pounds of enemy ordnance and enabling access for 20 direct-action raids.”

After presenting the medal to Ligon, Mullen spoke to an all-hands call about threats posed by the war on terrorism. He mentioned the increasingly vital role played by EOD personnel as IEDs become the terrorists’ weapon of choice.

Ligon said his experience bore that out.

“We were real busy. IEDs are the main killers out there,” he said.

“We spent a lot of time on the road convoying to different locations to get rid of the IEDs. We’d run hard for three or so days and then take a small break and then hit it again.”

Looking on as Ligon received his award were his son, Connor, 12; twin daughters Kennedy and Isabelle, 7; and his wife, Bernadette.

With tears in her eyes, his wife said, “It’s an honor; I knew he was a great guy. I want to say thank you to the command. They trained him well and they made sure he came home safe.”


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