Combat Controller named AF Outstanding Airman of the Year

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Melanie Holochwost
  • Air Force Special Operations Command Public Affairs
A Japan-based combat controller is one of the 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2015, Air Force officials recently announced.

Staff Sgt. Travis Jordan, 320th Special Tactics Squadron combat controller, is the latest Air Commando selected for this honor.

“Travis exemplifies the Air Force core values and the SOF ethos both with his actions on the battlefield and in his personal life,” said Col. William Freeman, 353rd Special Operations Group commander. “He is truly an outstanding Airman, and I couldn’t be prouder for him and his family on being formally recognized.”

While serving with an Army Special Forces team in Afghanistan, Jordan controlled more than 200 aircraft on 19 combat missions. One of those missions was so dramatic that it could be the climactic scene out of an award-winning war film.

One day in December 2014, Jordan said his team approached a small village. Their objective was to speak with the village elders.

Suddenly, they were ambushed.

“We came under heavy and effective fire from multiple directions, and one of our medics suffered a gunshot wound to his arm,” Jordan said.

Jordan and another special operator worked together to lay down suppressive fire and move their injured teammate to safety. But, Jordan took a bullet to his foot in the process.

“I didn’t immediately realize I was shot,” he said. “I knew I couldn’t stop… the rounds were still impacting inches from us.”

The enemy snipers continued to engage the team while Jordan applied a tourniquet to his lower leg.

“I knew my other teammates had worse injuries and I didn’t have time to waste on mine,” he said. “I got on my radio and coordinated air-to-ground engagements so we could locate, target and destroy the enemy.”

Jordan said his gunshot wound was a distraction, but he remained calm and focused on directing airstrikes and a medical evacuation, which eliminated two Taliban commanders and saved four lives.

He received the Purple Heart and a Bronze Star with Valor.

Although these actions may seem extreme, the courage and professionalism Jordan displayed never surprised his team, according to Capt. Dan Breiding, 320th STS silver team leader.

“Jordan can always be counted on to get the mission done,” Breiding said. “He is resolute in being the best at every task he performs. He constantly makes everyone around him better.”

Jordan also excelled outside the battlefield at Kadena Air Base, Japan.

At Airman Leadership School, Jordan won the John L. Levitow award, which is presented to the student who demonstrated the most outstanding leadership and scholastic qualities.

Jordan also participated in joint exercises and joint combine exchange trainings in four countries across the Pacific. During this time, he participated and conducted training with key special operations partners, which enhanced interoperability among U.S. Allies.

Jordan said he is truly honored to be recognized as one of the Air Force’s 12 Outstanding Airmen.

“We have so many Airmen doing amazing things for our country every day,” he said. “This award attests to the remarkable special operators we have in our Air Force, and I have no doubt that any one of my teammates could be receiving this very same award."

Below is the full list of the 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year:

Senior Airman Allen R. Cherry, III, U.S. Air Forces in Europe
Senior Airman Kresston L. Davis, Air Force Reserve Command
Senior Airman Meaghan G. Holley, Air Force District of Washington
Senior Airman Mason S. Meherg, Air Force Global Strike Command
Staff Sgt. Lindsey H. Fuentes, Air Combat Command
Staff Sgt. Kurtis V. Harrison, Air Force Material Command
Staff Sgt. Travis R. Jordan, Air Force Special Operations Command
Staff Sgt. Douglas P. Kechijian, Air National Guard
Tech. Sgt. Tamara R. Acfalle, Air Force Space Command
Master Sgt. Joseph Y. Bogdan, Air Mobility Command
Master Sgt. Timothy A. Mason, Air Education and Training Command
Senior Master Sgt. Harold J. Terrance, Jr., Pacific Air Forces