Military News

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Senior NCO's professionalism earns two medals

by Airman 1st Class Timothy Kim
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

4/22/2015 - SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- A senior master sergeant from the 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron received two medals during a presentation ceremony before the 52nd Mission Support Group commander's call April 16 at the Skelton Memorial Fitness Center here.

U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Christopher Collins, 52nd CES facilities systems superintendent, earned a Bronze Star Medal and a Combat Action Medal for his actions during his deployment to Afghanistan in 2013.

"These medals are a testament to Sergeant Collins' dedication and training when he and his comrades needed it most," said U.S. Air Force Col. Joe McFall, 52nd Fighter Wing commander. "This is a fantastic example of air power in a way we are not accustomed to thinking about it. Chris is a CE plumber by trade, but his professional skills, fighting spirit and courage as an Airman transcend his [Air Force Specialty Code] and highlight how critical air power has been to our nation's efforts in Afghanistan. I am honored to call him a fellow Saber. We couldn't be prouder of you, Sergeant Collins."

According to the medals' citations, Collins earned the Bronze Star Medal for conducting more than 50 key leader engagements with Afghan leaders, cultivating a rapport that would lead to more accurate human terrain analysis and enhanced situational awareness of the region. He also offered expert counsel to district government leaders, which led to the establishment and development of a police presence into insurgent safe havens, further increasing security.

Collins earned the Combat Action Medal during a humanitarian aid mission in Afghanistan Dec. 6, 2013. While his unit came under fire, Collins and his team managed to keep the enemy at bay and prevented further damage until air support arrived, allowing them to return to base.

Despite earning these awards, Collins said he considers these not as a recognition for doing something great, but for doing his job as a member of the Afghanistan Pakistan Hands program, a cadre of financial management service members and civilians with language and cultural training focused on those regions.

"I really was just doing my assigned duties," Collins said. "I'm thankful I was able to complete my second tour to Afghanistan as member of the AFPAK program and return home to my family. I was able to work side-by-side with some true professionals, and I wanted to do the best job that I possibly could. I wouldn't say I went beyond my duty, but I believe I made an impact."

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