Air Commando Awarded Silver Star

The Air Force on Friday awarded SSgt. Christopher Lewis, a combat controller assigned to the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Fla., the Silver Star for his actions during a 10-hour firefight near Mosul, Iraq, in 2016.

Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, the commander of the Air Force Special Operations Command, presided over the ceremony at Hurlburt.

On Oct. 20, 2016, Lewis was embedded with a Navy SEAL team working with Kurdish Peshmerga forces to clear ISIS fighters from two villages near Mosul. His citation points to ultiple acts of gallantry while his unit was under heavy fire, including exposing himself to “grave danger” to control airstrikes within 400 meters of his team’s position, destroying an oncoming vehicle-borne improvised explosive device within 150 meters of his position while he was manning a .50-caliber machine gun, providing medical care to a mortally wounded teammate within five meters of a live IED, and pulling two others from the vehicle and arranging a quick medical evacuation, as well as facilitating airstrikes resulting in 20 enemy forces’ deaths.

During his remarks, Webb told the gathered audience, “This is a big deal,” noting the Silver Star is the country’s third-highest award for valor and gallantry. He said past recipients have included Gen. Chuck Yeager, Gen. George S. Patton, and “American Sniper ” Chris Kyle.