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
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
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
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.