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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