On June 28, Tech. Sgts. Joseph Upton and Benjamin Wilhelm, both of the 775th Civil Engineering Squadron, received Bronze Star Medals from Col. Patrick Higby, 75th Air Base Wing commander, due to their "distinctive contributions, unrelenting perseverance and steadfast devotion to duty."
Upton received his medal for his service while deployed to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, from September of 2009 to March 2010.
While there, Upton was "invaluable to the safe resolution of 443 combat missions, including 128 Improvised Explosive Devices, 96 unexploded ordnance responses, 72 post blast analysis and 31 Airborne Reaction Force and Special Operations Forces missions," his narrative states.
"His actions significantly hindered the enemy's ability to conduct asymmetric guerrilla warfare against Coalition Forces," the narrative continues.
Along with exhibiting "exceptional leadership as an EOD team leader," Upton and his team were also responsible for "clearing six IEDs during the largest offensive in Afghanistan, helping to restore ... freedom of maneuver in areas previously held by the enemy."
Wilhelm received two Bronze Star Medals on June 28. The first medal had been awarded in 2008 for his meritorious service in a combat zone from April 2008 to October 2008. However due to his high operations tempo and many temporary duty assignments, this first medal was not formally presented until now.
Wilhelm earned his second medal for his service while deployed to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, from July 2009 to January 2010.
At Kandahar, his "steadfast leadership was critical to the successful execution" of a counter insurgency operation, which secured "freedom of movement across 71,000 square kilometers of battle space and (safeguarded) the lives of Coalition forces and Afghan Nationals ..." his narrative states.
Wilhelm also "supervised the safe execution of 66 combat missions in ... one of Afghanistan's most deadly battle spaces."
"As a direct result of Staff Sgt. Wilhelm's involvement with all phases of this operation, no Soldiers were injured and mission objectives were met.."