Combat controller named best in AFSOC

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Aaron Cram
  • 353rd Special Operations Group
A newly promoted staff sergeant was recently announced as Air Force Special Operations Command's Combat Control Airman of the Year for 2009.

Staff Sgt. Jeremy King, a combat controller with the 320th Special Tactics Squadron, earned the award after a year that included supporting combat operations in Afghanistan and humanitarian operations in Indonesia.

"It is a great honor to have been chosen for this award," Sergeant King said. "Combat Control is a small community with so many outstanding warriors to be recognized from. I'm not 100 percent sure I even deserve this award. CCT has several candidates that would fit the bill, but it comes down to a matter of being at the right place at the wrong time and doing what we are trained to do."

During his four-month deployment, Sergeant King served as the sole combat controller with U.S. Army Special Forces at a remote firebase. He enabled 65 successful combat missions, including nine direct-action missions and two major operations into known enemy safe havens resulting in the capture of two high-valued targets and the destruction of a weapons cache.

He also controlled air support for 30 missions including five firefights involving coalition soldiers and established a helicopter landing zone to evacuate six critically-injured coalition soldiers. He even directed artillery strikes against enemy fighters attacking his forward operating base. On numerous occasions, Sergeant King engaged the enemy directly with his assault rifle while directing air support. During one mission, Sergeant King exposed himself to enemy fire to gain a better vantage point to control aircraft.
When his deployment was over, Sergeant King had earned the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Air Force Combat Action medals.

The combat controller also helped open a damaged airfield after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake devastated Padang, Indonesia, during 2009. Sergeant King served as the lead air traffic controller at the airfield controlling 62 multi-national sorties that delivered more than 140,000 pounds of lifesaving supplies.

When not deployed, Sergeant King is constantly preparing himself and others for the future. When he's not training, he's mastering new equipment and leading other squadron members. He completed numerous required and additional training courses for combat controllers and conducted weapons training on four weapon systems while scoring expert on his primary weapons.

"Sergeant King's expertise sets an excellent example to his fellow teammates," said Maj. Jason Self, the 320th STS commander. "The recognition of AFSOC's Combat Control Airman of the Year is a direct result of his dedication and valor both on and off the battlefield. He is a true testament to the capability of today's young Airmen."