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Combat Action Medal: Maj. Steven Raspet

The first Combat Action Medals were awarded to six Airmen on June 12, 2007. (Front row, left to right): Maj. Steven Raspet, Senior Master Sgt. Ramon Colon-Lopez, Capt. Allison Black. Back row, left to right: Master Sgt. Byron Allen, Master Sgt. Charlie Peterson, Staff Sgt. Daniel Paxton. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The first Combat Action Medals were awarded to six Airmen on June 12, 2007. (Front row, left to right): Maj. Steven Raspet, Senior Master Sgt. Ramon Colon-Lopez, Capt. Allison Black. Back row, left to right: Master Sgt. Byron Allen, Master Sgt. Charlie Peterson, Staff Sgt. Daniel Paxton. (U.S. Air Force photo)

As the ranking officer of the awardees, Maj. Steven Raspet had the Combat Action Medal pinned on first. Here, then-USAF Chief of Staff T. Michael Moseley pins the medal onto Maj. Raspet. (U.S. Air Force photo)

As the ranking officer of the awardees, Maj. Steven Raspet had the Combat Action Medal pinned on first. Here, then-USAF Chief of Staff T. Michael Moseley pins the medal onto Maj. Raspet. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Maj. Steve Raspet (left) and his wingman 1st Lt. Andrew Tenebaum the day after the June 12 mission. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Maj. Steve Raspet (left) and his wingman 1st Lt. Andrew Tenebaum the day after the June 12 mission. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Maj. Steve Raspet returning from a mission in Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Maj. Steve Raspet returning from a mission in Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Like other A-10 pilots, Maj. Raspet used a saddle bag placed on the dashboard to carry maps, pens and other necessities. This saddlebag is now on display in the hand of a mannequin in the Warrior Airmen exhibit at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Like other A-10 pilots, Maj. Raspet used a saddle bag placed on the dashboard to carry maps, pens and other necessities. This saddlebag is now on display in the hand of a mannequin in the Warrior Airmen exhibit at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Staff Sgt. Shannon Cruz in Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Staff Sgt. Shannon Cruz in Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio - A portion of the Warrior Airmen exhibit on display in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio - A portion of the Warrior Airmen exhibit on display in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

In a ceremony June 2007, Maj. Steven Raspet, a 354th Fighter Squadron A-10 pilot, became the first Airman to have the Combat Action Medal pinned on. This decoration is awarded for performing duties in a combat zone, either on the ground or from the air, and coming under fire or firing upon an enemy. 

On Jan. 8, 2006, Raspet led a flight of A-10s in support of a ground convoy being ambushed in Afghanistan. He executed several low passes against the enemy forces. Despite communications problems and the imminent danger from ground fire, Raspet destroyed the threat and continued to cover the convoy as they left the ambush area. 

Staff Sgt. Shannon Cruz was the Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) on the ground who directed Raspet's attack on Jan. 8, 2006. The convoy he was in had already been weakened by an IED attack, making the enemy ambush even more dangerous. 

Between 2002-2006, Cruz deployed five times to Afghanistan and once to Iraq, and he operated mainly with unconventional ground forces. During his tours, he fought through 13 ambushes, and controlled the release of over 300,000 pounds of ordnance from U.S. and Coalition forces.

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