Training Wing Commander Earns Bronze Star

Col. Russ Mack, commander of the 71st Flying Training Wing at Vance AFB. Okla., on June 17 received a Bronze Star medal for his meritorious service in Afghanistan from December 2008 to May 2009. During this period, Mack was vice commander of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing at Bagram Airfield, which conducted more than 9,500 combat missions spanning 24,000 hours. “I’m honored to have the Bronze Star,” Mack said, the Enid News and Eagle reported. Among his accomplishments, Mack’s award citation notes his leadership after a C-17 made a gear-up emergency landing at Bagram in late January 2009, shutting down the base’s only active runway. Within four hours, combat operations had resumed, and the crippled aircraft was removed in less than 60 hours. Maj. Gen. Gregory Feest, 19th Air Force commander, presented Mack with the award.