Retired EOD Airman to Receive Silver Star

Retired MSgt. Kristopher Parker will be honored with a Silver Star for his actions on May 21, 2014, in Afghanistan. Parker is one of eight airmen whose awards were upgraded in January after a DOD-wide review of medals given during the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Then-TSgt. Parker was deployed to the 466th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight in support of Operation Enduring Freedom when he led a team into the mountains of the Kandahar Province to clear out a cave stashed with insurgent ammunition, explosives, and other supplies. Upon approach, Parker and his team were met with heavy fire from small arms, rocket-propelled grenades, and improvised explosive devices. Parker directed return fire and his team held the enemy at the mouth of the cave “for an entire day” without any communication with air support, according to the award citation. In the midst of this standoff, Parker directed the evacuation of a wounded team member and ran into direct gunfire in order to check the area for further explosive devices. Returning fire as he went, he also managed to mark ammunition cache sites for later destruction. “Due largely in part to Parker’s leadership and expertise no American lives were lost that day,” according to an Air Force release.