Bronze Star Medal and Distinguished Flying Cross presented to 3 Airmen — Iranian Missile Attack

Three Air­men answered their nation’s call and par­tic­i­pat­ed in a mis­sion that led to a three-part evac­u­a­tion of 194 spe­cial oper­a­tions forces in a hos­tile environment.

For their hero­ic actions, U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Adam C. Leach­man, 71st Oper­a­tion Squadron CV-22 Osprey pilot, was pre­sent­ed the Bronze Star Medal, and U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Adam C. Dar­row, 58th Oper­a­tions Group Detach­ment 1 com­man­der, and U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Samuel T. Levan­der, 71st Oper­a­tions Squadron oper­a­tions sec­tion chief, were award­ed the Dis­tin­guished Fly­ing Cross.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Craig D. Wills, 19th Air Force com­man­der, gave the invo­ca­tion speech and pre­sent­ed the recip­i­ents with their awards on Kirt­land Air Force Base, New Mex­i­co, Nov. 3, 2020.

“Ten short months ago, while the world was prepar­ing to ring in the new year, ten­sions in the Mid­dle East con­tin­ued to rise,” said Wills. “On Decem­ber 31, 2019, a [group] of Iraqi mili­ti­a­men sur­round­ed the U.S. Embassy in Bagh­dad and began attack­ing the perime­ter and once again the world held its breath to see what would happen.”

Wills described the men’s brav­ery and hero­ism dur­ing the operation.

“Today John Leach­man, Adam Dar­row and Samuel Levan­der join in the pan­theon of Air Force heroes,” said Wills. “Their names [are] for­ev­er asso­ci­at­ed with courage and brav­ery, mis­sion accom­plish­ment and excel­lence. They fol­low in the foot­steps of the thou­sands of Air­men who have gone before in the ser­vice of our nation and fought so we can enjoy free­doms and pros­per­i­ty that most Amer­i­cans take for grant­ed. Most impor­tant­ly so that we, our peo­ple and our allies, can live in peace.”

U.S. Air Force Col. Michael D. Cur­ry, 58th Spe­cial Oper­a­tions Wing com­man­der, reem­pha­sized the pro­fes­sion­al­ism and con­tin­ued lead­er­ship of these heroes.

“This hap­pened less than 10 months ago, and already those Air­men are in lead­er­ship and instruc­tor roles, train­ing the next CV-22 avi­a­tors,” said Cur­ry. “We put our best Air­men into Air Edu­ca­tion and Train­ing Com­mand and train the next gen­er­a­tion of com­bat warriors.”

Cur­ry said that it was impor­tant to show­case the out­stand­ing accom­plish­ments the Air­men achieved.

“Often, our qui­et pro­fes­sion­als don’t talk about what they do or see when they are deployed,” said Cur­ry. “So these recog­ni­tion cer­e­monies are great to let more peo­ple under­stand the mis­sions that we are used in.”

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