An Air Commando from the 1st Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron received a Silver Star during a ceremony at the Pentagon Nov. 14.
Tech. Sgt. Joseph Deslauriers, an explosive ordnance disposal technician, earned the medal for gallantry in action while serving in Afghanistan on Sep. 23, 2011.
"It seems to me that valor is of the moment -- character is built over a lifetime," said Col. Jim Slife, commander of 1st Special Operations Wing. "The events of the 23rd of September last year can be described less as a case of spontaneous valor and more as a predictable outcome of circumstance and character intercepting on the battlefield."
According to the award's citation, Deslauriers rendered one improvised explosive device and conducted a post-blast analysis of three subsequent denotations all within a four-hour time frame. After doing so, he then provided medical aid to an injured service member and used his detector to clear a safe path for the medical evacuation helicopter to land.
While clearing the area, Deslauriers stepped on an initiation system for an IED. Despite sustaining grave injuries, and as his teammates treated him with aid, he continued to pass information about the device that helped his team continue the mission. His actions led to the extraction of two injured Marines, two vehicles and completion of the mission.
"We talked about honor, sacrifice, and courage," Deslauriers said. "We don't think about that stuff; we just do what we do, and we love it. I'd do it all over again."
Explosive ordinance disposal Airmen use their training to dispose of anything from roadside bombs to decommissioned missiles -- all to save lives.
"You see this room filled with all these people and my family here," Deslauriers said. "To hear 'the most decorated EOD tech in the career field' -- it's an honor for me to be here."
Deslauriers said he felt honored to be standing in the Pentagon's Hall of Heroes, a place that honors the memory of hundreds of service members including Medal of Honor recipients.
"You belong here," said retired Gen. Norton Schwartz, former Chief of Staff of the Air Force.
"Thank you, sir," Deslauriers said. "To hear that from you, and from everybody here, is a great honor."
The Silver Star is the third highest military decoration for valor and is given for gallantry in action against enemies of the United States.
Article by Airman 1st Class Hayden K. Hyatt, 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs