Air Commando awarded Purple Heart

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Aaron Cram
  • 353rd Special Operations Group
An Air Commando was presented the Purple Heart at Craig Joint Theater Hospital here May 10 for injuries received during combat operations in Afghanistan.

Staff Sgt. Travis Dalton, a combat controller with the 320th Special Tactics Squadron, was wounded in his right arm, hamstrings and buttocks May 8 when an improvised explosive device detonated near him during a dismounted combat patrol in Helmand Province in Afghanistan.

Sergeant Dalton was immediately evacuated to a medical treatment facility for immediate care. He is now recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and is eager to return to duty.

"A wounded or killed airman is one of those things that commanders hope they will never be faced with," said Maj. Jason Self, the 320th STS commander. "Unfortunately, it happens all too often in the Special Tactics community. Yet our warriors continue the fight, undaunted by the risk of combat operations. Sergeant Dalton continues that proud tradition, and it speaks to the dedication of STS that he is anxious to recover and return to the fight. I am proud to call him a member of the mighty 320th."

Combat controllers are highly-trained special operations forces and certified Federal Aviation Administration air traffic controllers who deploy undetected into combat and hostile environments to establish assault zones or airfields and then provide air traffic control and fire support.