Bronze Star profile: Senior Airman Sean Murphy

***image1***Senior Airman Sean Murphy, Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Det 515, was recently awarded the Bronze Star medal for meritorious conduct during operations at Kirkuk Air Base in Iraq. Airmen Murphy recently shared his experiences with the KA.

How did you feel when you found out you were to receive the Bronze Star?
Honored, humbled.  I am only receiving this award because I was surrounded by great people.  The agents I worked with were true professionals doing an extraordinary mission under extreme conditions. Their efforts created the opportunity for me to be recognized.

What was your role in your deployed location?

I was the superintendent of the Expeditionary Detachment at Kirkuk.  Our mission was to gather information about insurgents who were carrying out attacks against U.S. forces in the area for U.S. Army operational planning. We were involved in collection activities so we spent most of our time off base talking to villagers and gaining support for U.S. interests. We were also involved in humanitarian efforts and operations that would further build relationships with Iraqi citizens. In one such operation, we (helped) distribute school supplies to Iraqi children.  

What were some defining moments of your deployment?

Walking the streets of a town previously off limits to U.S. personnel. We were introduced to the town mayor and soon befriended him and gained his trust. As a show of good faith, he invited us to walk through town with him, guaranteeing our safety. Our show of trust resulted in the mayor providing us information that led to the capture of seven insurgents responsible for carrying out rocket attacks against the base. Some of my most memorable moments were seeing the smiles on the faces of Iraqi children as we visited their villages and handed them candy and school supplies. Their smiles, the look of hope in their eyes, will stay with me forever.

Was there a specific event cited on your citation you can describe?

My team, supported by an Army action element and Iraqi police Emergency Services Unit, planned and carried out the capture of an insurgent cell hiding in a village near the base. Members of my unit were interspersed with Army teams and assisted in securing the perimeter of the target house. An Army team and an ESU team then entered the house and subdued the occupants. The insurgents were then escorted out so my team could positively identify them and initiate the detention process. Throughout the operation we had support from Air Cavalry units, which continually flew overhead. Working with the Army on a combat operation, in a combat environment is one of the greatest memories of my military career.