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Special tactics Airman receives Bronze Star for actions in Afghanistan

Col. Matthew Davidson (left), commander of the 24th Special Operations Wing, presents Staff Sgt. Nicholas P. Jewell, a combat controller in the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Special Tactics Squadron, with the Bronze Star Medal during a ceremony Feb. 7, 2015, at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky. Jewell earned the award for meritorious achievement while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in 2014. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Vicky Spesard)

Col. Matthew Davidson (left), commander of the 24th Special Operations Wing, presents Staff Sgt. Nicholas P. Jewell, a combat controller in the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Special Tactics Squadron, with the Bronze Star Medal during a ceremony Feb. 7, 2015, at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky. Jewell earned the award for meritorious achievement while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in 2014. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Vicky Spesard)

KENTUCKY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- A combat controller from the Kentucky Air National Guard's 123rd Special Tactics Squadron was awarded the Bronze Star Medal here Feb. 7 for meritorious service while deployed to Afghanistan, where he engaged enemy forces and deterred their advances.

Staff Sgt. Nicholas P. Jewell served as a Joint Terminal Attack Controller assigned to an Army Special Forces team from Aug. 12, 2014, to Nov. 10, 2014, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Jewell was tasked to provide tactical advice and assistance to Afghan Army Commando teams performing combat operations in northeastern Afghanistan when he and his team came under small-arms fire.

As rounds impacted within feet of his position, Jewell ran to cover behind a ridgeline and immediately returned fire while simultaneously relaying enemy locations to aircraft overhead, according to the award citation. He then controlled an immediate air-to-ground engagement with high explosives from an AH-64 attack helicopter, resulting in multiple enemies killed in action.

"So obviously he found himself in a bad spot," said Col. Matthew Davidson, commander of the 24th Special Operations Wing, who officiated the award ceremony and presented the medal to Jewell. "He went out and saved his teammates and saved the mission. It's folks like him that we want to emulate."

Jewell also was recognized for his actions during a clearing operation when his element came under direct small-arms fire. He immediately coordinated efforts between ground signals intelligence forces and overhead aircraft to locate and engage the enemy fighting location with devastating effects.

"What we have asked Nick to do, and his teammates to do -- in fact what we ask a lot of Americans out there to do for us sometimes -- they have extraordinary responses to that," Davidson said. "Like (Jewell) did on numerous occasions."

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.