Air Force Reviewing Previously Awarded Medals

CMSAF James Cody said the Air Force is “currently reviewing” some medals previously awarded for actions during the Global War on Terrorism “to ensure our airmen have been appropriately acknowledg[ed] for the their actions.” The senior enlisted leader’s comments came in response to a question from an anonymous special operator during a June 2 Reddit forum. “Many fellow special operators in my community have been wondering why a Medal of Honor hasn’t been awarded in GWOT?” wrote the commando, who specifically mentioned “several personal cases,” including recent Air Force Cross recipients SSgt. Robert Gutierrez Jr. and SrA. Dustin Temple. Cody responded, “With regards to the Medal of Honor … couldn’t agree more. We have some great airmen who have performed heroically in the GWOT.” It’s not clear how many medals, or which ones, are under review. Gutierrez was awarded the Air Force Cross for his actions in Afghanistan on Oct. 5, 2009. As the lone joint terminal attack controller assigned to an Army Special Forces team, he accurately directed air strikes despite a collapsed lung and busted ear drums, helping to destroy the enemy. Temple received his medal for a battled that raged Sept. 27-29, 2014, also in Afghanistan. Temple and two other combat controllers, both of whom were awarded the Silver Star, successfully called in air strikes, helping to repel the enemy attack. (See also Panetta: Proper Recognition for Heroes.)