Combat controller earns Bronze Star Medal for actions supporting U.S. Central Command

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Vicky Spesard
  • 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
A combat controller from the Kentucky Air National Guard's 123rd Special Tactics Squadron was awarded the Bronze Star Medal here June 6 for meritorious service while deployed to Southwest Asia and Northwest Africa, where he engaged enemy forces and deterred their advances.

Master Sgt. Benjamin was instrumental in the execution of nine missions across five countries and seven landing zones, conducting nine forward-area refueling point surveys and one drop-zone certification in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, according to the award citation.

Benjamin supervised a 53-man joint special operations team during the night infiltration and assessment of a strategic airfield. Working with Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance operators, Benjamin was able to maintain tactical control of three separate maneuver elements on the ground while simultaneously conducting pavement evaluations for two primary runways on the airfield.

Additionally, he supervised a 12-man joint special operations team tasked with an airfield security assessment, enabling partner nation forces to maintain momentum and resupply forces in their fight against Al Qaeda.

Finally, Benjamin delivered crucial survey results to two Special Forces teams conducting strategic site assessments, equipping commanders with support to re-open strategic infrastructure.

The Bronze Star Medal was authorized by executive order on Feb. 4, 1944, and is awarded to service members who have distinguished themselves by heroic or meritorious achievement or service in connection with military operations against an armed enemy.