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FS GABRESKI AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, WESTHAMPTON BEACH, NY - Six New York Air National Guard members receive the Bronze Star for Valor during a ceremony on Friday, Dec 6 at F.S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base. The six members of the 106th Rescue Wing's 103rd Rescue Squadron are being honored for the courage they showed under fire during a December 10, 2012 rescue mission in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The Bronze Star with V device is the fourth highest ranking United States military award for heroism. The Combat Rescue Officer and five Pararescuemen, known collectively as Guardian Angels, flew into a "hot" LZ and were under continuous Taliban fire from AK-47s, machineguns, and rocket propelled grenades, as they called in helicopter gunship support, and provided emergency medical care to the four men while shielding them with their own bodies. The six members include: Capt. Ronnie Maloney, of Middle Island; Senior Master Sgt. Erik Blom, of Hampton Bays; Technical Sgt. Anthony Yusup of Bloomsburg, PA; Staff Sgt. James Dougherty of Rocky Point; Staff Sgt. Matthew Zimmer of Westhampton; and Staff Sgt. Christopher Petersen of Commack, then a senior Airman. All were assigned to the 46th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron Detachment of the 651st Air Expeditionary Group, a part of the 451st Air Expeditionary Wing, at Kandahar Air Field at the time.
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