Two Members of 274th ASOS Receive Bronze Star Medal

  • Published
  • By Lt. Greta D. Lewis
  • 174th Fighter Wing
On August 14, 2010, two members of the 274th Air Support Operations Squadron received a Bronze Star Medal during a brief ceremony in the 174th Fighter Wing Conference Room as family and Hancock Field unit members watched.

The medals were presented to Technical Sgt.'s Cole P. Shebat and Patrick, both Joint Terminal Air Controllers (JTACs), by 274th ASOS Acting Commander Lt. Col. Graham Buschor. They were nominated for the awards while deployed to separate locations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Col. Kevin W. Bradley, 174th Fighter Wing Commander, offered remarks about the two Airmen which focused on the wingman concept and their growth as members within the unit. Bradley said the symbolism of the two men standing side-by-side is indicative of the support each gives to the other during training and especially during the mission.

Those thoughts were echoed by the 174th Command Chief Master Sgt. David Heckman, who went on to add that it is always good to see when others are able to recognize and acknowledge the hard work and dedication of Hancock Field members.

Both airmen are Traditional Guardsmen and serve as law enforcement officers in their civilian jobs. They both have families, are very similar in height, stature and strength. They are both very reserved and observant, as if surveying all that goes on around them. They might be mistaken for brothers, yet they are brothers-in-arms.

Patrick decided to become a JTAC because it was closest to the infantry job he had while in the Army. The high precision element of the job allows the one JTAC to become a significant force multiplier, but the responsibility is tremendous and can be very stressful. Being a family man as well, Patrick wears three distinct hats, and he said, "Focus is not always easy, and compartmentalizing is very necessary in this job, especially for a guardsman." When asked how it felt to receive the award, Patrick said, "It's strange to be commended just for doing your job. We do it because we like our job."

Shebat was motivated to join the service after 9/11 and was offered the opportunity to become a JTAC by chance. He knows nothing but embedding with the Army and likes the responsibility because he knows he can offer help. He said, "Training kicks in when we're in high-tense situations, but I don't notice until it's over." He described his military and civilian jobs as being similar, but more in terms of turning a dial versus flipping a switch based on the intensity of the situations. He said, "I feel honored to receive the award, but there are others who are just as deserving."

Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) is the overarching career field under which the JTACs fall. The TACP mission is to advise combatant commanders on the availability and use of Air Power. JTACs are most often embedded with Army units and are responsible for calling in the air-strikes.

The Bronze Star Medal, authorized by Executive Order No. 9419 on February 4, 1944, is awarded to a person in any branch of the military service who, while serving in any capacity with the Armed Forces of the United States on or after December 7, 1941, shall have distinguished himself by heroic or meritorious achievement or service, not involving participation in aerial flight, in connection with military operations against an armed enemy.