Three Special Operations airmen receive Sijan award for leadership

Published: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 10:57 AM.

Luttrell was awarded the Silver Star, the nation’s third highest combat decoration, in January 2012 for gallantry in combat. He pulled his wounded team medic from a cave while under intense enemy fire and administered immediate medical treatment.

As the only Airman on an Army special operations forces team, he engaged in combat operations spanning 150 days including 25 high-risk missions resulting in 29 enemy combatants eliminated, according to the award citation.

He also instructed Afghan Army and local police force members on close quarter battle, assisting the transition effort in Afghanistan.

Luttrell says he learns just as much if not more from his people than they do from him.

“A leader is someone who is willing to listen to input, but isn’t afraid to make tough decisions,” he said.

Keaton, who completed his own tenth Global War on Terror deployment in 2012, also guided 14 deployments across four theaters that resulted in 3,023 combat operations and 568 enemy combatants eliminated, according to the award citation.

While stateside, he also saved a 74-year-old woman from drowning in a submerged car when an automobile accident caused her to run off the road into a lake. An onlooker appeared with a hammer, Keaton said. He grabbed it, broke the window and removed her from the vehicle.

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