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NEWS | Aug. 17, 2006

437 SFS members receive Army commendation medals

By Senior Airman Alice Moore 437 AW Public Affairs

Thirty-six members of the 437th Security Forces Squadron received Army Commendation Medals Aug. 11 here for meritorious service for their support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. 

Maj. Paul Stang, 437 SFS commander presented the medals. 

"Being deployed for a long period of time is never easy and providing the care, custody and control of these detainees was a challenging task," Major Stang said. "Despite the challenges, these troops faced every day with a positive, can-do attitude and completed their mission successfully." 

The security forces members served as members of the 886th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron at Camp Bucca, a coalition-run detention facility in Southern Iraq. 

The facility is primarily run by security forces Airmen. It is where the United States holds suspected terrorists captured by Coalition Forces. The detainees have various backgrounds to include the illiterate as well as high-educated biologists and mathematicians. 

Prior to the deployment to Camp Bucca, the squadron members also spent time receiving training at Fort Dix, N.J., on detainee operations including self-defense use of less-than-lethal force and cell extraction - the safe removal of an uncooperative detainee from a holding area. The training also included first-aid procedures and convoy operations. 

The Charleston team provided perimeter defense and convoy security as well as assisted the detainees during Iraq's first democratic voting session by setting up voting booths and escorting the detainees to the booths. The Airmen were also pivotal in the Iraqi Correction Officer Program and trained more than 450 Iraqi policemen. 

"There's story for every day you're there," Master Sgt. Glenn Phillips said. "There was never a dull moment." 

For Senior Airman Jason Klotz, who has also been awarded two Army Achievement Medals for past deployments, the award ceremony was the result of months of hard-work being recognized. 

"Being able to get together like this as a squadron to recognize the medal recipients was a positive experience," Airman Klotz said. 

The Army Commendation Medal is awarded to any member of the armed forces other than general officers, who while serving in any capacity with the Army, distinguished themselves by heroism, meritorious achievement or meritorious service. 

(Capt. Christopher Moore, 437 AW Public Affairs, contributed to this article)