Kentucky airmen receive awards, honors - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Kentucky airmen receive awards, honors

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Family members applauded as Kentucky's Adjutant General described the acts of eight men and women who were honored during an awards ceremony Sunday. Most were members of the Kentucky Air National Guard or Kentucky National Guard Agribusiness Development Team. 

"This ceremony celebrates the accomplishments of these award recipients. But it also is a reflection of what I believe is the best damn airlift wing in the U.S. Air Force," Tonini told the crowd who gathered Sunday at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville.

Behind the Bronze Stars, Flying Crosses, and Air Force Combat Action Metals are the stories of eight men and women whose efforts during the war in Afghanistan earned them these honors.
Technical Sgt. Jeff Kinlaw put himself in harm's way, according to military accounts, and used a handheld laser to point out enemy locations during a 14-hour firefight with the Taliban in April of 2012.

"It was a 14-hour fight so it's hard to describe but basically I was with an Army team and we went up there - and we took care of it and we got out of there," said Technical Sgt. Jeff Kinlaw after receiving the award. "I just feel very proud to have my family and friends here. It just felt good to have them here."

Sgt. Robert Bonello helped coordinate an air attack and rescued a wounded interpreter during two separate missions in April of 2012. According to an account provided by the military, Sgt. Bonello was acting as a joint terminal attack controller when his team was attacked by enemy forces. After calling in for air support, Bonello and his fellow soldiers found themselves pinned down under heavy machine gun fire. Sgt. Bonello is credited with helping coordinate another air attack that ended with the deaths of 16 insurgents.

"It was an honor to be nominated for such a prestigious award. And I'm thankful I was able to receive it," said Technical Sgt. Bonello. "The biggest takeaway is essentially you couldn't do it without each other." 

Captain Nathan Tingle is humble but helped rescue critically injured soldiers during an air rescue mission on May 26, 2011. But there were some he couldn't save that day.

"I try not to think too much about awards and decorations, we're just out there to do the job," said Tingle. "I do think of the families of the men who didn't come home that day."

Those who received the honors expressed a mix of humility and shared sacrifice. A reminder that even though it's not on the news every night, America is still very much a nation at war.

"Since we are such a tight-knit community and we're all happy for each other ; especially when you go out you do something great , you come back and you're alive," said Sgt. Bonello.

Distinguished Flying Cross:
Capt. Nathan B. Tingle, a combat rescue officer, for extraordinary achievement in Afghanistan

Bronze Star Medal for Valor:
Tech. Sgt. Robert Bonello, a combat controller, for heroism in Afghanistan
Tech. Sgt. Jeff Kinlaw, a combat controller, for heroism in Afghanistan

Among the others honored with Bronze Stars were:
Lt. Col. Dallas E. Kratzer II, ADT V, for meritorious achievement in Afghanistan
Master Sgt. James M. Oliver, ADT V, for meritorious achievement in Afghanistan
Master Sgt. Zakiya Taylor, ADT V, for meritorious achievement in Afghanistan
Tech. Sgt. Robert D. Bonello, a combat controller, for meritorious achievement in Afghanistan
Tech. Sgt. Nathan A. Steele, ADT V, for meritorious achievement in Afghanistan

Air Force Combat Action Medal:
Tech. Sgt. Christopher R. Terrell, an explosive ordinance disposal technician, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom

 

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