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SEOUL — An Air Force technical sergeant stationed at Osan Air Base, South Korea, recently was awarded a medal for preventing a mid-air collision, according to base officials.

Tech Sgt. Gerald Minster, a senior watch supervisor with the 51st Operations Support Squadron, was presented the U.S. Air Force Aircraft Assist Award for helping prevent an Osan-based F-16C from colliding with an unidentified aircraft on March 19.

According to an Osan news release, Minster was supervising Staff Sgt. Tracey Clifton, who was monitoring the air traffic flow on the console.

“The F-16 was low, about 1,800 feet, and inbound to the base when pop-up traffic appeared on the monitor,” Minster was quoted as saying in the release. Pop-up traffic refers to unexpected aircraft, often civilian.

“I immediately told Clifton to give a … call to the pilot, but we didn’t receive a response” from the F-16. “We gave the call again and the pilot immediately initiated a high climb to avoid the unidentified aircraft.”

The aircraft remains unidentified. Minster, who couldn’t be interviewed because he is in the States on leave, said in the release that the F-16 pilot “later thanked me and said he wouldn’t be here today if we hadn’t contacted him.”

Minster’s commander, Maj. John Gasner, said March 22 was just one example of how Minster conducts business on a daily basis.

Minster and Clifton also were awarded the 51st Fighter Wing Safety Office’s “Well Done Safety Award.”

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