ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE -- An airmans first deployment to Afghanistan earned him a Bronze Star.
Maj. Gen. Jim Butterworth, adjutant general of Georgia, awarded the medal to Senior Master Sgt. James Love in a ceremony Friday. Love, a member of the 116th Air Control Wing, received the honor for his deployment from February to September of last year.
Love is superintendent of the 116th Civil Engineering Squadron Operations Flight. In Afghanistan, he led a team of 100 people that completed 174 construction projects. Love said after the ceremony a key focus of their mission was improving the security of Afghanistan Highway One by building facilities for troops who protected the route.
Love had deployed to Iraq, but he said it was his first time in Afghanistan.
It was very rewarding, he said. I had a really good team of guys.
The 116th Air Control Wing and the 461st Air Control Wing operate the E-8 Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, which is heavily deployed. Love said its not unusual for members of the engineering squadron to embark on missions such as his that fall outside the surveillance mission.
The ceremony marked the fifth Bronze Star in the past three years for 116th Civil Engineering Squadron guardsmen.
Col. Kevin Clotfelter, commander of the 116th Air Control Wing, said Love was deserving of the honor.
He is a servant leader, Clotfelter said. He has a tremendous heart for people.
The Bronze Star is the nations fourth highest combat medal.
Also at the ceremony, Butterworth presented Clotfelter with the wings 16th Air Force Outstanding Unit Award. Maj. Gen. Tom Moore, commander of the Georgia Air National Guard, said no other Air National Guard wing has won the recognition that many times.
Butterworth said in an era of budget cuts, such an award is more than just another plaque to hang on the wall.
All of these victories are incredibly important, he said. Every single penny being spent is under a microscope.
To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.