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Air Force Combat Action Medal
U.S. Air Force Col. Thomas F. Gould, 435th Air Ground Operations Wing commander, left, presents the Air Force Combat Action Medal to Tech. Sgt. Robert Scheel, 7th Weather Squadron battlefield weather forecaster, Oct. 14, 2009, Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Sergeant Scheel was awarded the Combat Action Medal after his ground convoy was engaged by enemy forces necessitating an immediate response of direct and lethal fire. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Nathan Lipscomb)
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Airman awarded AF Combat Action Medal

Posted 10/26/2009   Updated 10/26/2009 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class Alexandria Mosness
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

10/26/2009 - RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- An Airman from the 435th Air Ground Operations Wing was awarded the Air Force Combat Action Medal in a ceremony here Oct. 14.

Tech. Sgt. Robert Scheel, currently with the 7th Weather Squadron at Wiesbaden, Germany, was a staff sergeant serving as a battlefield weather forecaster with the 18th Weather Squadron at Fort Bragg, N.C., and deployed in September 2003 with the Army's 82nd Airborne Division.

During Sergeant Scheel's deployment, his convoy was ambushed while travelling with the Army from Kuwait to Iraq.

Though one of only two Airmen in the 125-vehicle convoy, Sergeant Scheel was used to it as his job was an Army support role.

"It was pretty quiet up until that point in the journey," Sergeant Scheel said. "The training just kicked in when the ambush happened."

The ambush lasted only 45 seconds to a minute, he recalled, but it was a life or death situation.

"A rocket propelled grenade flew directly over our vehicle, and luckily it was a dud," he added. "There were also bullet holes in some of the vehicles."

However, no U.S. servicemembers were injured and 10 insurgents were killed.

"The ability to work as a team really paid off in this situation," Sergeant Scheel said. "The training we received helped out extremely."

Six years later, fellow Airmen gathered to honor Sergeant Scheel.

"Congratulations on a job well done," said Col. Thomas Gould, 435th AGOW commander, who presented the medal. "This is a reflection of the great Airmen we have fighting in our Air Force and in support of our Overseas Contingency Operations."

While it has taken six years to get the award, it doesn't make it any less sweet.

"I am honored and glad to be recognized," said the Sarasota, Fla., native. "This incident taught me things can always change on a dime."

The other Airman on that particular convoy, Tech. Sgt. Mark Sterling, also a battlefield weather forecaster, was also awarded the Combat Action Medal for his actions that day. He is currently stationed at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas.

Introduced in 2007, the Combat Action Medal has been given to more than 4,000 Airmen whose primary role includes performing duties in a combat zone, either on the ground or from the air.

10/23/2009 1:19:10 AM ET
carol, calif
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