‘Stressful’ duty earns sailor the Bronze Star
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Supplies aren’t the sexy part of the military. Usually, the folks driving the tanks get the glory, not those working the phones to find replacement parts when a tank breaks down.
But after six months of “shaking loose parts” in Camp Al Taqaddum near Fallujah, Iraq, Master Chief Storekeeper Danny Schneider received the Bronze Star Medal — the military’s fourth highest honor.
“Usually, it’s awarded for more combat-type situations,” Schneider said at Yokosuka Naval Base on Thursday. “I guess it’s kind of rare.”
Schneider was just a year from retiring from the Navy when he volunteered to go to Iraq. The senior enlisted adviser at Defense Distribution Yokosuka Japan has worked in the Navy 30 years. He is scheduled to retire in August 2006.
His “logistical expertise” came in handy, resulting in a 10 percent overall increase in unit readiness, according to Gen. Maj. Paul E. Mock in a DDYJ news release.
It was “essential to combat operations,” Mock said.
Schneider was embedded with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. His charge with the Defense Logistics Agency: Keep critical supplies flowing to the Marine and Army divisions in the Sunni triangle. It entailed a convoy ride every other Tuesday to a supply maintenance meeting in Ramadi.
“The first time, I was scared — you always hear about bad things happening on convoys,” Schneider said. “Then I just got used to it.”
But working in a hostile ground environment is a far cry from his 17 years spent on ships, Schneider said.
“I didn’t know what to expect at ground level. I’m used to seeing this from the water,” he said.
“I owe the white in my mustache to Iraq,” he joked. “It was pretty stressful.”
Schneider also participated in operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm and has received three Navy Commendation Medals and four Navy Achievement Medals.
Now, he’s getting his résumé ready, he said.
The Bronze Star was created in 1944 to honor combat valor or meritorious service. Schneider received the award Nov. 22 in a ceremony at Yokosuka Naval Base.