MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. (WALB) - Gen. Mike Holmes, commander of Air Combat Command, presented a Bronze Star Medal with Valor to an Airman assigned to the 38th Rescue Squadron (RQS) on Aug. 26.
While deployed to Afghanistan in 2018, Staff Sgt. Aaron Metzger, 38th RQS pararescueman, engaged in action against an enemy of the United States. Despite being exposed to continuous enemy fire, Metzger ran to aid two Afghan partners who were severely injured by a grenade. Disregarding the risk to himself, he carried the two partners away from enemy fire.
“I'm really proud of the work that he did,” Holmes said. “I'm honored to have a chance to come and spend some time with you today to celebrate this award for Sgt. Metzger.”
During the mission, Metzger overcame significant challenges as a grenade detonated near the location he was treating personnel, causing shrapnel injuries to his right arm and chest. He remained calm in order to guide a fellow teammate to perform life-saving treatment on himself, only to be wounded a second time by gunfire.
Even after being wounded a second time, Metzger remained in the fight, and refused to be carried to the medical evacuation helicopter, so personnel could focus on security.
In an auditorium filled with Metzger’s family, 23d Wing leadership and 38th RQS Airmen, Holmes acknowledged his actions and what it meant to have his teammates there for the presentation. While paying tribute to Metzger’s actions, Holmes also took time to thank Metzger’s team for helping him return to duty, while still executing the mission.
“I know this room understands what you did better than most do and I'm sure it's an honor to be able to do this in front of people who understand,” Holmes said. “I'm proud of the team that took part in helping Sgt. Metzger return to status because that's a tough voyage. I'm proud of the people [who] accomplished this mission [and] all the aspects that go into it that make it happen.”
The citation, accompanying the medal, underlines Metzger’s heroic actions and selfless dedication – reflecting great credit upon himself and the Air Force.