Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Peterson Space Observer

Portraits in Courage Vol. VI: Core values, real time

By Senior Master Sgt. Paul Dean

Air Force Public Affairs Agency

WASHINGTON — Directing heat, jumping into raging waters, triaging under fire, powering relief efforts, or using a camera to alter outcomes; these are the actions taken by some of the 18 Airmen featured in the latest series of Portraits in Courage.

Volume VI tells the stories of heroes and game changers; the true-life accomplishments of those enriching the Air Force narrative, including two from the 21st Space Wing.

“Whether risking life or limb to call in air strikes, deftly disarming improvised explosive devices, running through a gauntlet of enemy fire or tirelessly providing humanitarian support, the Airmen who are showcased here exemplify the warrior ethos,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Roy in the preface.

Schwartz announced Sept. 20 the release of the latest volume during an address at the Air Force Association’s 2011 Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition at National Harbor, Md.

“Although they represent only a small cross-section of our Air Force, these Airmen exemplify the character of our citizens who answer the call of duty by volunteering to serve our Nation in a time of conflict. Because valor has no expiration date and courage is timeless, it is our hope that these stories will inspire future generations of men and women to also undertake noble service to our country,” said Schwartz and Roy.

The sixth volume recounts the bravery, courage and selfless commitment of the brave Airmen, including Staff Sgt. Mark Badger and Master Sgt. Benjamin Horton, both with the 21st Civil Engineer Squadron.

As part of the 466th Air Expeditionary Squadron, Operating Location-Bravo, Afghanistan, Badger eliminated more than 60 improvised explosive devices during a six-month deployment. While supporting an Army cavalry company Badger and his explosive ordnance disposal team were pinned down by an explosion. Although injured with shrapnel he assisted in the treatment and evacuation of others and made sure a return path was clear of additional improvised explosive devices before consenting to his own evacuation.

Horton, whose three Bronze Stars speak volumes about his mission focus and perseverance, fought through shrapnel wounds and temporary blindness to direct rescue efforts for others around him. Horton cleared IEDs for rescue helicopters and risked his life to recover fallen warriors from IED blast zones.

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