***image1***Maj. Gen. Paul Fletcher had one item left on his to-do list before his final departure from the headquarters building where he worked since Nov. 1, 2000 − present one of his colleagues with a Bronze Star.
The 3rd Air Force-United Kingdom vice commander called an all-staff meeting Sept. 21 and presented a Bronze Star to Col. William O’Donnell, 3rd AF-UK chief of staff.
The medal was awarded for meritorious service while deployed to Southwest Asia, from Dec. 15, 2003, until April 2, 2004. Colonel O’Donnell served as the 386th Air Expeditionary Group commander while a lieutenant colonel. He distinguished himself by meritorious achievement while engaged in ground operations against an opposing armed force in the United States Central Command area of responsibility, according to the citation. His group of Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard and active-duty Airmen flew more than 7,900 mishap-free combat hours, executed 5,400 sorties and transported more than 106,000 passengers and 13,000 tons of cargo in support of operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom, as well as Joint Task Force Horn of Africa.
“We all worked hard,” Colonel O’Donnell said. “This medal is a reflection of a superb group of folks who I was lucky enough to command in a very important time in our history.”
The Bronze Star Medal is the fourth-highest combat award in the U.S. Armed Forces. It is awarded to armed forces members for bravery, acts of merit, or meritorious service, not involving participation in aerial flight, while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States; while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.
To be eligible for the Bronze Star Medal, a military member must be receiving hostile fire/imminent danger pay during the event for which the medal is to be awarded.
“I was sincerely honored that the general presented the medal to me before he left,” Colonel O’Donnell said. “It meant even more because of that.”
Colonel O’Donnell left RAF Mildenhall Sept. 30. He will come to Ramstein Nov. 1 to assume the role of deputy political advisor for the U.S. Air Forces in Europe commander.