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130th EIS members awarded 2 Bronze Stars, 28 additional medals

Members of the 130th Engineering Installation Squadron pose with their commander, Lt. Col. Kevin Tobias during an awards ceremony at the Utah Air National Guard Base Jan. 6. During the ceremony, 18 members of the 130th EIS were awarded two Bronze Star medals, 11 Army Commendation Medals, three Army Achievement Medals, two Air Force Achievement Medals (first oak leaf cluster) and 12 United States Afghanistan Campaign Medals for deployment achievements supporting Operation Enduring Freedom during 2011 and 2012. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Giacoletto-Stegall)(RELEASED)

Members of the 130th Engineering Installation Squadron pose with their commander, Lt. Col. Kevin Tobias during an awards ceremony at the Utah Air National Guard Base Jan. 6. During the ceremony, 18 members of the 130th EIS were awarded two Bronze Star medals, 11 Army Commendation Medals, three Army Achievement Medals, two Air Force Achievement Medals (first oak leaf cluster) and 12 United States Afghanistan Campaign Medals for deployment achievements supporting Operation Enduring Freedom during 2011 and 2012. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Giacoletto-Stegall)(RELEASED)

Master Sergeant Scott Prows, from the 130th Engineering Installation Squadron, posed with Brig. Gen. David Fountain, the Assistant Adjutant General for Air, after receiving the Bronze Star medal. For deployment achievements supporting Operation Enduring Freedom during 2011 and 2012, two Bronze Stars and 28 additional medals were awarded to 18 members of the 130 EIS during a ceremony at the Utah Air National Guard Base Jan. 6. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Giacoletto-Stegall)(RELEASED)

Master Sergeant Scott Prows, from the 130th Engineering Installation Squadron, posed with Brig. Gen. David Fountain, the Assistant Adjutant General for Air, after receiving the Bronze Star medal. For deployment achievements supporting Operation Enduring Freedom during 2011 and 2012, two Bronze Stars and 28 additional medals were awarded to 18 members of the 130 EIS during a ceremony at the Utah Air National Guard Base Jan. 6. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Giacoletto-Stegall)(RELEASED)

Master Sergeant Vince Tanner, from the 130th Engineering Installation Squadron, posed with Brig. Gen. David Fountain, the Assistant Adjutant General for Air, after receiving the Bronze Star medal. For deployment achievements supporting Operation Enduring Freedom during 2011 and 2012, two Bronze Stars and 28 additional medals were awarded to 18 members of the 130 EIS during a ceremony at the Utah Air National Guard Base Jan. 6. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Giacoletto-Stegall)(RELEASED)

Master Sergeant Vince Tanner, from the 130th Engineering Installation Squadron, posed with Brig. Gen. David Fountain, the Assistant Adjutant General for Air, after receiving the Bronze Star medal. For deployment achievements supporting Operation Enduring Freedom during 2011 and 2012, two Bronze Stars and 28 additional medals were awarded to 18 members of the 130 EIS during a ceremony at the Utah Air National Guard Base Jan. 6. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Giacoletto-Stegall)(RELEASED)

SALT LAKE CITY -- Two Bronze Stars and 28 additional medals were awarded to 18 members of the 130th Engineering Installation Squadron in a ceremony at the Utah Air National Guard Base Jan. 6.

The two Bronze Star medals, 11 Army Commendation Medals, three Army Achievement Medals, two Air Force Achievement Medals (first oak leaf cluster) and 12 United States Afghanistan Campaign Medals were awarded for deployment achievements supporting Operation Enduring Freedom during 2011 and 2012.

By executive order from the President of the United States of America, the Bronze Star was awarded to Master Sergeants Scott Prows and Vince Tanner. Brig. Gen. David Fountain, the Assistant Adjutant General for Air, presented the medals to the two Guardsmen during the ceremony.

Though his own life was at risk while performing missions of "national significance" for Special Operations Command, Prows gave credit to those he worked alongside who didn't make it home.

"It was very humbling when they told me I was being nominated for this award," said Prows. "I'd definitely give this award back for anybody who can't come home from that theater, and for the personnel who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the same areas that I was involved in. I'm very humbled by their service and their sacrifice. I feel very fortunate that I didn't have to pay that price, but it's always in the back of my mind, especially since those who didn't come home make it possible for those of us who did to get recognized."

On a couple occasions during Prows' deployment his company took direct fire. One incident he described as a "bombardment" of mortar shells, "a close call that left my ears ringing for about four days." Due to classified content surrounding the events, Prows was unable to elaborate further.

Tanner said he initially didn't want to accept the award, but later decided to accept it for his team. Tanner attributed the Bronze Star as belonging to the entire six-man team, from the 130th EIS, he was charged with while on deployment.

"I never believed in awards. I guess because I've been around too long, and I've seen a lot of lives lost. They deserve it more than I do. The award belongs to the whole team, not me."

Tanner explained the nature of their deployment and the intense danger they faced on a regular basis.

"I've lost count of how many convoys and Black Hawk operations we did," said Tanner. "We saved a lot of lives by fixing the downed communication systems. We were very busy 'cable dogs,' as they called us. We worked lots of late nights in rough areas. We often used the cover of night to minimize risk. We were constantly going out in the middle of harm's way to make repairs, and we never knew if we were going to come back."

As the team chief, Tanner stated he was responsible for the lives of the people on his team, and their missions required a lot of coordination with security teams to ensure their survival.

"They all came back alive and that's what counts to me," said Tanner. "However, I never breathed a sigh of relief until I landed back in the United States."

Tanner also confessed that, on this deployment, one of the security trucks in their convoy was hit by an Improvised Explosive Device. The injured soldiers were medically evacuated, and their lives were saved.

In the closing of the official awards ceremony the commander of the 130th EIS, Lt. Col. Kevin Tobias expressed appreciation toward the award recipients.

"They performed a good service for their country, a big sacrifice, and we appreciate it," said Tobias. "It's a good day, to be able to have an awards ceremony like this."

The recipients of the Army Commendation Medal were:
Senior Master Sgt. Randy Young
Master Sgt. Bryan Schramm
Master Sgt. Gregory Taylor
Tech. Sgt. Brian Nichols
Staff Sgt. Kenneth Eastwood
Staff Sgt. David Hendrickson
Staff Sgt. Christian Ward
Senior Airman Corbin Class
Senior Airman Cody Hard
Senior Airman David Santistevan
Senior Airman Colby Williams

The recipients of the Army Achievement Medal were:
Senior Master Sgt. Randy Young
Master Sgt. Gregory Taylor
Staff Sgt. Christian Ward

The recipients of the Air Force Achievement Medal (first oak leaf cluster) were:
1st Lt. Brian Herrscher
Senior Airman Abraham Beh

The recipients of the United States Afghanistan Campaign Medal were:
Senior Master Sgt. Randy Young
Master Sgt. Bryan Schramm
Master Sgt. Vince Tanner
Master Sgt. Gregory Taylor
Tech. Sgt. Brian Nichols
Staff Sgt. Kenneth Eastwood
Staff Sgt. David Hendrickson
Staff Sgt. Christian Ward
Senior Airman Corbin Class
Senior Airman Cody Hard
Senior Airman David Santistevan
Senior Airman Colby Williams