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EOD Airman recieves Bronze Star for service in Iraq

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Miranda Moorer
  • 36 Wing/Public Affairs
An Airman from the 36th Civil Engineering Squadron was awarded the Bronze Star by Brig.Gen. Douglas Owens, 36th Wing commander, during a base-wide commander's call Dec. 11.

Tech. Sgt. Ronald White received the medal which is awarded to U.S. servicemembers for heroic or meritorious achievement of service, not involving aerial flight in connection with operations against an opposing armed force.

While deployed to Iraq, Sergeant White executed more than 185 combat missions, during which he contributed to the safe passageway of supply routes by safely mitigating 68 improvised explosive device incidents.

Sergeant White was assigned to the 332nd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight, Logistics Support Area Anaconda from Jan. 7 through June 25, 2007. During this time he served as EOD team leader in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. 

His mission was to recover and destroy IEDs, unexploded ordnance and execute post blast analysis and weapons caches within a 31,000 square kilometer area.

Sergeant White recovered and disrupted several IED's, despite the dangers involved. Because of his actions, hazards were lifted that would have otherwise posed grave risk to military members and civilians.

During his service in Iraq, Sergeant White contributed to the recovery and destruction of more than 57,100 pieces of ordnance used by the enemy in roadside bombs.

"The hardest part was working with an Army unit while reporting to an Air Force command that didn't understand their job," said Sergeant White. "We developed a really close bond with the Army.  "They were like our body guards; they treated us like they were secret service agents and we were president.  They would do anything to keep us safe." 

Near the end of Sergeant White's tour, he and his company received news that one of their members, Senior Airman William Newman, had been killed by an IED.

"I was on standby the day he got killed," said Sergeant White.  Airman Newman and his team leader were each carrying an IED away from a residential area when his detonated in his hands. 

"That's exactly why many of us get the Bronze Star," said Sergeant White. "That could happen to any one of us. Almost every EOD team leader gets out of his truck and walks downrange in a bomb suit and disarms bombs."

Even on the day that Airman Newman was killed, Sergeant White and his team was sent out to respond to a secondary IED which exploded later that day.