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48th FW Airman honored by German government

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During a Jan. 16 ceremony, the 48th Security Forces Squadron NCO in charge of vehicles was awared the highest tribute the Federal Republic of Germany can pay to individuals for services to the German nation.

German Interior Minister Dr. Hans-Peter Friedrich presented the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany to Staff Sgt. Trevor Brewer in honor of his actions during the March 2, 2011, shootings at Frankfurt International Airport in which two Airmen were killed and two others wounded.

Friedrich recounted the events of that day for the gathered members of the press, the German interior ministry, American diplomatic staff and senior leaders from the 48th Fighter Wing who accompanied Brewer to the ceremony.

"This terrible incident also provided the opportunity to bring out the best in man," Friedrich said, as talked about how Brewer pursued the gunman into the airport and later got help for his comrades after the gunman was arrested by Frankfurt police.

"I deeply admire you, Sergeant Brewer, for your courage," he said. "I can only say your behavior is exemplary for all of us."

Brewer's leaders were very impressed by the support shown from the German people and the staff of the U.S. Embassy who helped set up the ceremony.

"They've just done a beautiful job taking care of us and making very clear the impact, not only among Americans but among Germans, that (Brewer's) actions have had," said Lt. Col. Paul Cairney, 48th SFS commander.

"We'll take this back to the whole unit and make sure they know that the thoughts of the German people are with them," he said.

Brewer, meanwhile, remained humble about both the award and the attention.

"It's a privilege just to be here," he said.

An Order of Merit was also awarded to Joseph Connor, an American expatriate who works at Frankfurt Airport and was instrumental in warning bystanders of the gunman and facilitating communication between Brewer and police by speaking fluent German.

Article by Staff Sgt. David Dobrydney, 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs