Incredible courage resides within all of our military branches. Illustrated two years ago in Afghanistan, by Air Force Staff-Sergeant Robert Gutierrez. A combat controller embedded with a Special Forces team, Sergeant Gutierrez and his fellow warriors found themselves pinned down in a building, surrounded and out-numbered by Taliban insurgents. His job, as combat controller, was to call-in and help pin-point air-attack assist when needed on the ground. Which he would immediately have done, were it not for the bullet wound in his chest that had caused one-lung to collapse. Regardless, he kept firing at the enemy, until the Green Beret medic was able to re-inflate that lung. Once done, Sergeant Gutierrez could then talk, and radioed for support, a call answered by one of our great A-10 "Warthogs," whose Gatling-gun efficiently-eliminated the surrounding enemy force, enabling all of our SF guys to survive.
For his steadfast courage and commitment to team, later in October, at near-by Hurlburt Field in Florida, Staff-Sergeant Robert Gutierrez will be awarded the Air Force Cross, second only in stature to the Medal of Honor, for Air Force recipients. His citation reads, in part: "Throughout the four-hour battle, Sergeant Gutierrez's valorous actions, at great risk to his own life, helped save the lives of his teammates…" Said he, reflecting back: "It never is about oneself. It's always about the others first, then you last." Over the past two years, Sergeant Gutierrez has undergone seven surgeries, including repairing his ear-drums, blown-out by the closeness of that A-10 strafing! How very fortunate we all are in America to have bona-fide heroes like this, amidst so many others, committed to the cause of protecting our nation and preserving our freedom.