N.D. Gov. presents Air Force Combat Action Medal to two Airmen
By Capt. Penny Ripperger, 119th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published May 13, 2008
May 13, 2008 -- Minot, N.D. - In a first for the North Dakota Air National Guard Detachment, two Airmen were presented with the Air Force Combat Action Medal (AFCAM) by N.D. Gov. John Hoeven during a ceremony today at the at Minot Air Force Base.
Master Sgt. Dominic Cook, West Fargo, N.D. and Staff Sgt Aaron Giere, Hawley, Minn., were presented the medal by Gov. Hoeven and Brig.Gen. Patrick Martin, Assistant Adjutant General for Air, in recognition of actively participating in combat operations while serving in Iraq in 2003.
"This medal recognizes Master Sgt. Cook and Staff Sgt. Giere for outstanding work," said Gov. John Hoeven. "It's your willingness to put your life on the line that sets you apart. You step up and serve our nation. Nobody could do it better."
The AFCAM is only awarded to individuals who go outside the defended perimeter to conduct duties under lethal enemy attack and are at risk of grave danger.
Cook and Giere served in Baghdad, Iraq with the Security Forces Oscar 1 team where they responded to off-base hostile threats directed at U.S. and coalition forces. Cook and Giere distinguished themselves while responding to a dispatch in which they rescued coalition forces during a small arms fire assault. The airmen also bravely performed security sweeps of the area to ensure the location was safe preventing harm to civilians, U.S. and coalition military forces.
"Master Sgt. Cook and Staff Sgt. Giere epitomize the best qualities of the Airmen of the N.D. Air National Guard and the Air Force. There is no finer unit in the world than our National Guard. I am so proud of you," said Gov. Hoeven.
Both Airmen expressed pride and a humble appreciation for the honor they were bestowed, adding they were overwhelmed with receiving the medal.
"Certainly the brave actions displayed by these Airmen deserve our praise and respect, said Brig.Gen. Martin. "Their achievements are in keeping with the finest traditions of the Happy Hooligans and the Air National Guard."
The AFCAM has only been awarded to two other members in the history of the N.D. Air Guard; Cook and Giere are the first to receive it for the Air Guard Detachment in Minot.