Seventeen Airmen from the 146th ASOS were awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal or the Air Force Combat Action Medal during a ceremony in August for their heroic deeds in Afghanistan.
The first group of Airmen from the Will Rogers ASOS squadron deployed to Afghanistan in July of 2011 in support of Army and Air Force operations overseas including combat operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Airmen continued to deploy throughout the following months, and the squadron finished its deployment duties in April 2012.
“There have only been a handful of times that the Oklahoma Air and Army National Guard have worked together on a common mission. Nearly all of those missions were in support of disaster relief. The joint deployment of the 146th ASOS and the 45th IBCT was historically significant for many reasons, but most of all, because throughout the deployment Oklahomans were supporting and protecting one another.” said Maj. Gen. Myles Deering, the adjutant general for Oklahoma.
During their deployment, every member of the 146th ASOS coordinated precision air-to-ground missile and bomb strikes on hostile forces, maintaining friendly force positioning, engaging in ground combat with enemy forces and deterring or completely denying enemy action.
“Even in the face of grave danger, you made sure that the full force of the United States Air Force was brought to bear on those who would bring harm to your brothers and sisters on the ground,” Ferguson said.
Col. Van Kinchen, commander of the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, headquartered in Norman, Okla., said that before deploying with the 146th ASOS, “None of us really understood or appreciated what they do.”
“We had our first combined exercise in April 2010… and we began to understand, we began to appreciate what they brought to the battlefield,” said Col. Kinchen.