Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Peterson Space Observer

EOD Airman receives Purple Heart

Col. Stephen N. Whiting, 21st Space Wing commander, presents the Purple Heart to Staff Sgt. Mark Badger, an explosive ordnance disposal specialist with the 21st Civil Engineer Squadron here June 20. The award was given for injuries suffered and valorous service while conducting an operation near the village of Hendu Kalacheh in southern Afghanistan Oct. 5, 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo/Rob Bussard)

By Airman 1st class jessica Hines

21st Space Wing Public Affairs
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.  — “Whenever any singularly meritorious action is performed, the author of it shall be permitted to wear on his facings … the figure of a heart in purple cloth or silk, edged with narrow lace or binding. Not only instances of unusual gallantry, but also of extraordinary fidelity and essential service in any way shall meet with a due reward,” George Washington, first president of the United States.
The oldest U.S. military honor and award, the Purple Heart, as described above by George Washington, was presented to Staff Sgt. Mark Badger, an explosive ordnance disposal specialist with the 21st Civil Engineer Squadron here June 20. The award was given for injuries suffered and valorous service while conducting an operation near the village of Hendu Kalacheh in southern Afghanistan Oct. 5, 2010.
Col. Stephen N. Whiting, 21st Space Wing commander, presented the award to Sergeant Badger and had a few words to share with the family members present. “We are as proud of your son, your brother, your husband, as you are … this is a great opportunity to recognize an American hero.”
Sergeant Badger’s quick and precise actions resulted in saving the life of his EOD team leader and provided safe routes for remaining members of Combined Task Force Kandahar.
The mission was to clear combat access routes surrounding a mountain known to be occupied by insurgent bomb makers who had caused numerous coalition casualties.
“I wasn’t scared at all. I know (my team members) weren’t. We were jumping to get out there and replace the team that had been hit, to make sure (coalition forces) would be safe. It was very important for us to be out there and protect those operations,” said Sergeant Badger.
After successfully clearing five other improvised explosive devices, Sergeant Badger’s team was preparing to head out when an undetected IED was inadvertantly triggered and detonated. The explosion critically injured the team leader and a fellow team member. Sergeant Badger, being only 15 feet from the blast, suffered injuries, but was nearest the scene and the first to respond to his wounded teamates.
“The most important thing to do was make sure they would be alright, get them out of there and make sure nobody else would get hurt, because there were a lot of improvised explosive devices in the area,” said Sergeant Badger.
Sergeant Badger first applied tourniquets and helped stablized his EOD teammate that had been next to the explosion; the Airman later passed as a result of injuries suffered. With little regard for his own safety, Sergeant Badger moved up the mountainside to aid his team leader whose body was thrown as a result of the blast.
He assisted with life-saving procedures on his team leader, and helped with the medical evacuation of both men.
Following the medevac of his EOD team members, Sergeant Badger created a secure path out of the area, ensuring the safety of the remaining teammates. He also cleared evacuation routes by eliminating possible IED hazards, while also securing critical equipment and weapons.
Through his efforts, Sergeant Badger was able to pass along crucial intelligence to the relieving EOD team.
“There isn’t a single EOD tech who wouldn’t jump to go over there to do their job; to protect all the innocent people,” said Sergeant Badger.
For his actions, Sergeant Badger also received the Army Commendation Medal with Valor.
The EOD team was part of Combined Joint Task Force Paladin out of Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.  — “Whenever any singularly meritorious action is performed, the author of it shall be permitted to wear on his facings … the figure of a heart in purple cloth or silk, edged with narrow lace or binding. Not only instances of unusual gallantry, but also of extraordinary fidelity and essential service in any way shall meet with a due reward,” George Washington, first president of the United States.The oldest U.S. military honor and award, the Purple Heart, as described above by George Washington, was presented to Staff Sgt. Mark Badger, an explosive ordnance disposal specialist with the 21st Civil Engineer Squadron here June 20. The award was given for injuries suffered and valorous service while conducting an operation near the village of Hendu Kalacheh in southern Afghanistan Oct. 5, 2010.Col. Stephen N. Whiting, 21st Space Wing commander, presented the award to Sergeant Badger and had a few words to share with the family members present. “We are as proud of your son, your brother, your husband, as you are … this is a great opportunity to recognize an American hero.”Sergeant Badger’s quick and precise actions resulted in saving the life of his EOD team leader and provided safe routes for remaining members of Combined Task Force Kandahar.The mission was to clear combat access routes surrounding a mountain known to be occupied by insurgent bomb makers who had caused numerous coalition casualties.“I wasn’t scared at all. I know (my team members) weren’t. We were jumping to get out there and replace the team that had been hit, to make sure (coalition forces) would be safe. It was very important for us to be out there and protect those operations,” said Sergeant Badger.After successfully clearing five other improvised explosive devices, Sergeant Badger’s team was preparing to head out when an undetected IED was inadvertantly triggered and detonated. The explosion critically injured the team leader and a fellow team member. Sergeant Badger, being only 15 feet from the blast, suffered injuries, but was nearest the scene and the first to respond to his wounded teamates.“The most important thing to do was make sure they would be alright, get them out of there and make sure nobody else would get hurt, because there were a lot of improvised explosive devices in the area,” said Sergeant Badger.Sergeant Badger first applied tourniquets and helped stablized his EOD teammate that had been next to the explosion; the Airman later passed as a result of injuries suffered. With little regard for his own safety, Sergeant Badger moved up the mountainside to aid his team leader whose body was thrown as a result of the blast.He assisted with life-saving procedures on his team leader, and helped with the medical evacuation of both men.Following the medevac of his EOD team members, Sergeant Badger created a secure path out of the area, ensuring the safety of the remaining teammates. He also cleared evacuation routes by eliminating possible IED hazards, while also securing critical equipment and weapons.Through his efforts, Sergeant Badger was able to pass along crucial intelligence to the relieving EOD team.“There isn’t a single EOD tech who wouldn’t jump to go over there to do their job; to protect all the innocent people,” said Sergeant Badger.For his actions, Sergeant Badger also received the Army Commendation Medal with Valor.The EOD team was part of Combined Joint Task Force Paladin out of Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.

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