SPRINGFIELD, IL (08/10/2011)(readMedia)-- Seven members of the Illinois Air National Guard's 183rd Fighter Wing, 217th Engineering Installation Squadron in Springfield were awarded Bronze Star Medals while serving in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from September 2010 through July 2011. Six of the Airmen received their medals during a ceremony at the 183rd Fighter Wing Aug. 6. The seventh Airmen will receive his medal at a later date. All seven members were key decision makers who had pivotal roles not only for themselves but for all 80 combined unit members who deployed.
"Receiving the Bronze Star is quite an honor," said Lt. Col. James Loux of Springfield, the 217th commander. "It represents the challenges our members faced from a long deployment and a deployment to a combat area."
Loux received a Bronze Star Medal for his service as the deployed commander of 80 Airmen during their first mobilization as Joint Expeditionary Tasked Airmen.
The Joint Expeditionary Tasking supporting the U.S. Army was comprised of Air Force members from three different Air National Guard units from around the United States. The team formed a cohesive group of engineers, cable and electronics teams and management teams based out of Bagram and Kandahar Airfields in Afghanistan. The primary mission while deployed was to install the centralized, strategic fiber optic network at 15 sites in support of the Technical Control Facility program. In addition, the team worked on various communication projects, including both engineering and installations, at more than 27 forward operating bases in Afghanistan.
Capt. Christopher Treff, of Mascoutah, received a Bronze Star Medal for his service as the lead engineer for all northern tier forward operating bases. He designed five technical control projects and more than 20 outside plant projects. He provided engineering expertise to the command staff for all projects within the combined joint operations area.
Senior Master Sgt. Kevin Keyfauver, of McHenry, received a Bronze Star Medal for his service in managing more than 90 communication projects from engineering to installation at more
than 20 separate sites in Afghanistan. The joint effort included teams of two to 10 Army technicians at various sites.
Senior Master Sgt. James Wynn, of Chicago, received a Bronze Star Medal for his service as the team chief for the first technical facility installation. He led a nine-man team who completed an $8 million project at Spin Buldak, a forward operating base in Afghanistan. In addition he installed 14,000 feet of copper and 46,000 feet of fiber, bringing 17 buildings online to the Afghan network.
Master Sgt. William Barnes, of Riverton, received a Bronze Star Medal for his service in deploying all 80 members in to and out of the theater of operations. He moved equipment, personnel and resources to 27 locations within Afghanistan. His efforts required constant communication with the host nation trucking, military and civilian airlift, and heavy equipment units and operators. He successfully shipped more than 2 million pounds of material, tools, equipment, vehicles and personnel within theater of operations.
Master Sgt. Scott Reynolds, of Chatham, received a Bronze Star Medal for his service as the supply material manager. He provided all logistical support for more than 50 members who deployed from Kandahar, Afghanistan. He ensured all members were fully outfitted, equipped and billeted.
Master Sgt. Michael Brennecke of Fenton, Mo., will receive a Bronze Star Medal for his service in support of the logistics management team. He was key in the engineering of 23 C4 infrastructure projects throughout the theater of operations. Brennecke will receive his medal at a later date since he was unable to attend the ceremony.
Under Loux's command, the unit completed more than 90 command and control communications projects at 27 locations throughout Afghanistan.
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U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Shaun Kerr, 183rd Fighter Wing/(Left to right) Master Sgt. Scott Reynolds of Chatham, Master Sgt. William Barnes of Riverton, Senior Master Sgt. James Wynn of Chicago and Senior Master Sgt. Kevin Keyfauver of McHenry, stand beside the 183rd Fighter Wing Commander Col. Michael Meyer, just before receiving their Bronze Star Medals during a presentation, Aug. 6 at the 183rd Fighter Wing in Springfield.