Air Commando Gutierrez Nominated for Air Force Cross

Air Force officials have nominated SSgt. Robert Gutierrez, an instructor at the Air Force Special Operations Training Center at Hurlburt Field, Fla., for the Air Force Cross—the service’s second highest award for valor. The award is still pending the signature of Air Force Secretary Michael Donley. On Oct. 5, 2009, Gutierrez was the lone joint terminal attack controller assigned to an Army Special Forces team in Afghanistan. The team was tasked with capturing, detaining, or killing a “high-value target” whom coalition forces had been chasing for the previous six years. During the course of the battle, Gutierrez suffered a bullet wound, a collapsed lung, and busted ear drums, but he continued to direct air strikes with an “exceptionally high degree of technical proficiency” despite his dire circumstances, his former commander, Lt. Col. Parks Hughes, told the Daily Report. Read Gutierrez’s full story here. (For the PDF version of this Air Force Magazine article, click here.)

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