Saturday, February 7, 2015

Oregon Airman honored with Bronze Star Medal


Maj. Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, Adjutant General, Oregon, awards Staff Sgt. Owen Unbehaun (right), of the 125th Special Tactics Squadron (STS), Oregon Air National Guard, with the Bronze Star Medal during a ceremony held at the Portland Air National Guard Base, in Portland, Oregon, Feb. 7. 

PORTLAND, Oregon - The Oregon Air National Guard recognized one of their Citizen-Airmen with a Bronze Star medal during a ceremony on Saturday, February 7, at the Portland Air National Guard Base.

Staff Sgt. Owen Unbehaun, of the 125th Special Tactics Squadron (STS), received the Bronze Star medal during a packed morning ceremony held at the unit's auditorium. In attendance were Unbehaun's parents, brother, and girlfriend. The 234th Army Band provided music for the ceremony.

Maj. Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, Adjutant General, Oregon, presided over the ceremony, and presented Unbehaun with the medal. In attendance were Unbehaun's parents, brother, and girlfriend. The 234th Army Band provided music for the ceremony.

Oregon Air National Guard Brig. Gen. Michael E. Stencel, Air Component Commander for Oregon, along with other Oregon National Guard leadership were also in attendance.

Unbehaun, a Combat Control Craftsman with the 125th STS, served in Afghanistan with the 21st Expeditionary Special Tactics Squadron, Combined Joint Operations Air Component, Special Operations Command Central.

As the sole Airman serving as a Joint Terminal Attack Controller assigned to an Army Special Forces Team and later a Navy SEAL Team that was partnered with an Afghan Commando Special Operations Unit, Unbehaun was instrumental in providing combat airpower during 43 complex operations, according to the citation.

During one major clearing operation consisting of 300 personnel and supported by 80 aircraft sorties, Unbehaun's ability to battle track the widely dispersed ground forces was critical for the team's force protection. As he and his team moved through the objective area, hostile insurgents positioned on the high ground and ambushed their elements, the citation says.

Unbehaun neutralized the enemy insurgents with the AC-130W gunship, multiple unmanned predator drones, and four F-18s, which killed eight insurgents and destroyed four defensive fighting positions. Throughout the deployment, Unbehaun managed 160 air sorties and controlled 21 aerial resupply missions enabling the delivery of one ton of equipment, fuel, and perishable goods for his teams.

The 125th STS is responsible for training, equipping, and employing combat control (CCT), Special Operations Weather Team (SOWT), and support personnel to successfully execute special tactics operations domestically and worldwide in support of both state and federal missions.

Since establishment of the unit on May 27, 2005, the 125th STS has deployed forces in support of numerous combat operations during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, and Operations Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn in Iraq.

The unit has also responded to numerous domestic response operations to include: Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita, Hurricane Ike, and severe flooding in Vernonia, Ore. Currently, the unit is undergoing its first mobilization in which operators are filling a critical need as Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs) in Village Security Operations in the remote areas of Afghanistan. 

Photo by 1st Lt. Heather Bashor, Oregon Air National Guard Public Affairs.

No comments: