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Hunting the Terrorists Down: SMSgt. Ramon Colon-Lopez

Pararescueman Senior Master Sgt. Ramon Colon-Lopez wearing the artifacts now displayed on a mannequin at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Pararescueman Senior Master Sgt. Ramon Colon-Lopez wearing the artifacts now displayed on a mannequin at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Unofficial emblem of the PJ/Combat Rescue Officer School with the Cheshire Cat pulling the strings of the “coneheads” (nickname for PJ candidates).

Unofficial emblem of the PJ/Combat Rescue Officer School with the Cheshire Cat pulling the strings of the “coneheads” (nickname for PJ candidates).

Photograph of Senior Master Sgt. Ramon Colon-Lopez taken in Afghanistan. The shirt and pants he was wearing in the photo are on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. The New York City Fire Department patch was sent to him by FDNY firefighters, and he wore it on several missions. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Photograph of Senior Master Sgt. Ramon Colon-Lopez taken in Afghanistan. The shirt and pants he was wearing in the photo are on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. The New York City Fire Department patch was sent to him by FDNY firefighters, and he wore it on several missions. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Senior Master Sgt. Ramon Colon-Lopez (second from right) and other members of the team destroying hashish they had discovered along with the weapons. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Senior Master Sgt. Ramon Colon-Lopez (second from right) and other members of the team destroying hashish they had discovered along with the weapons. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Senior Master Sgt. Ramon Colon-Lopez was one of the first six Airmen to receive the newly-created Combat Action Medal from USAF Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley. He was also awarded the Bronze Star with Valor for his actions during the engagement. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Senior Master Sgt. Ramon Colon-Lopez was one of the first six Airmen to receive the newly-created Combat Action Medal from USAF Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley. He was also awarded the Bronze Star with Valor for his actions during the engagement. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio - Part 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 - Part 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)

Pararescueman Senior Master Sgt. Ramon Colon-Lopez deployed to Afghanistan shortly after 9/11, and he participated in direct action and combat search and rescue (CSAR) missions to capture or kill high value targets directly related to the recent terrorist attacks on U.S. soil and abroad. He also provided security for Hamid Kharzai, who was elected president of Afghanistan in 2004. 

On March 11, 2004, Colon-Lopez was on an operation in Afghanistan to capture a high-value target -- a drug king-pin who was funding terrorism -- and to prevent the proliferation of chemical weapons. Colon-Lopez was on the first of four helicopters, which took sustained small-arms fire and was seriously damaged as it landed. Though he did not know the size of the enemy force, Colon-Lopez moved forward under fire, overrunning the enemy positions. His action suppressed enemy fire against the other three helicopters. 

Colon-Lopez and the team drove the enemy away. They killed two of the enemy, captured 10, and destroyed a stash of rocket propelled grenade (RPG) rounds and small caliber weapons. Because of their quick reaction and suppression of the danger facing them, no Americans were killed.

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Related Fact Sheets
Pararescuemen and Combat Rescue Officers
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Lectures
Chief Master Sgt. Ramon Colon-Lopez: "Global War on Terror" (00:51:43)
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