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Airmen receive Bronze Stars, Army Commendation Medals

Left to right: Senior Airman Nicholas Worthington, recipient of a Bronze Star; Staff Sgt. Chris Jackson, recipient of an Army Commendation Medal; Staff Sgt. John Degnaro, recipient of an Army Commendation Medal; and Tech. Sgt. Sean Gray, recipient of a Bronze Star. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Berenger)

Left to right: Senior Airman Nicholas Worthington, recipient of a Bronze Star; Staff Sgt. Chris Jackson, recipient of an Army Commendation Medal; Staff Sgt. John Degnaro, recipient of an Army Commendation Medal; and Tech. Sgt. Sean Gray, recipient of a Bronze Star. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Berenger)

Staff Sgt. John Degnaro, Tech. Sgt. Sean Gray, Staff Sgt. Howie Loughran and Senior Airman Anthony Cerrone stand in front of an explosive ordnance disposal vehicle known as the Joint EOD Rapid Response Vehicle while deployed to Iraq. (Courtesy photo)

Staff Sgt. John Degnaro, Tech. Sgt. Sean Gray, Staff Sgt. Howie Loughran and Senior Airman Anthony Cerrone stand in front of an explosive ordnance disposal vehicle known as the Joint EOD Rapid Response Vehicle while deployed to Iraq. (Courtesy photo)

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, NEW MEXICO -- Members of explosive ordnance disposal teams put their lives on the line each and every time they are called out to investigate improvised explosive devices and other explosives. It's a job that they don't expect recognition for, but on Jan. 31, four members of EOD here were honored for their service.

Tech. Sgt. Sean Gray and Senior Airman Nicholas Worthington were presented the Bronze Star for their service while deployed to Iraq. The Bronze Star Medals were awarded to Sergeant Gray and Airman Worthington for meritorious service.

Sergeant Gray served in Iraq from March 4 through Aug. 19, 2006. As an EOD team leader, Sergeant Gray executed more than 84 combat missions.

Sergeant Gray rendered safe and destroyed 44 IEDs while supporting the 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, allowing freedom of movement for multinational supply and relief convoys.

"Most of us consider countering the IED threat in Iraq as just doing our job ..." Sergeant Gray said.

Airman Worthington served in Iraq from March 5 through Aug. 16, 2006. While there, he aided in the safe resolution of 95 EOD emergency response missions.

In June 2006, Airman Worthington was part of a three-person EOD team that was sent out on a routine mission. While the team was on its way to check on an IED call, a truck in the security detail was hit by an IED. While inspecting the explosion site, a secondary IED went off.

The team chief was injured and Airman Worthington provided buddy aid before returning fire and pinning the insurgents in their firing location until the remaining quick reaction force could move in.

Staff Sgt. Christopher Jackson and Staff Sgt. John Degnaro were presented with Army Commendation Medals for their meritorious service while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"It is just a great honor to be recognized for the work that all EOD technicians do overseas," Sergeant Jackson said.

The ceremony was officiated by Col. Terrence Feehan, Nuclear Weapons Center commander.

While speaking at the ceremony, Colonel Feehan said before presenting the medals, "I hope that we can do honor to you and your families today." He continued, "We should be very proud of these men, those that have deployed and those that are deployed right now."