Three Nellis Airmen earn Bronze Stars

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- Three Nellis Airmen received Bronze Star Medals here Sept. 29 for meritorious service in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The three recipients are Staff Sgt. Jeremy Raine and Staff Sgt. Thomas Galetto, both 99th Airborne Explosive Ordnance Disposal members, and Capt. Gerald Mulhollen, 99th Security Forces Squadron operations officer.

Col. Michael Bartley, 99th Air Base Wing commander, presided over the ceremony.

"I am extremely proud of the accomplishments of these Airmen, who have answered the call of this nation to serve in combat operations. Each of them put their lives on the line to protect the liberties and freedoms we all hold so dear. Today, we honor these warriors with the Bronze Star Medal -- a medal awarded to those who distinguish themselves while engaged in ground action against an enemy of the United States. I salute all of them for their commitment to something bigger than themselves, and their steadfast bravery in the face of danger," said Colonel Bartley.

The Bronze Star is awarded to individuals who, while serving in any capacity in or with the military of the United States, distinguished themselves by heroic or meritorious achievement or service while in combat, not involving participation in aerial flight.

The two Airborne EOD members' primary mission while deployed was to conduct counter-IED and intelligence-collection operations.

This included assessing, identifying and rendering the safe disposal of collectively more than 300 unexploded ordnances and improvised explosive devices, totaling more than two tons of explosives without injury or loss of life.

"These Airmen worked day and night to combat the top issue confronting the Department of Defense, defeating improvised explosive devices. They risked their lives every day to keep coalition forces safe and support the global war on terror," said Chief Master Sgt. William Walton III, chief of the 99th EOD flight.

Captain Mulhollen's mission while deployed was to assist in security of the voting stations during times of Iraqi Elections and instructed multiple Iraqi public order officers on evidence collection and crime scene security, increasing their knowledge to assist in possible prosecution of opposing Iraqi forces.

"Captain Mulhollen engaged in the ultimate test of an Airman's skills, actual combat with an enemy, up close and personal. He was not only found worthy, he was found meritorious. His star was earned, and his wife and children should be proud of their old man, because we certainly are." said Maj. John-Paul Mickle, 99th Security Forces commander. "His accomplishments recognized today are but an example of the outstanding work being done by all Airmen in support of the mission in Iraq."

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