ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- An Army Materiel Command senior enlisted member received the military's fourth highest combat award, Dec. 15.

Sgt. 1st Class David M. Worthington, a senior enlisted advisor for the U.S. Army's Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, or CERDEC, received the Bronze Star Medal for ensuring "the success of multiple special operations of national significance" during deployments to Iraq and Syria throughout 2015 and 2016 in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

Maj. Gen. Randy S. Taylor, commanding general of the US Army Communications-Electronics Command, presented the Bronze Star to Worthington during a ceremony at CERDEC headquarters.

"As a two-star general who was active-duty for 30 years, I've deployed lots of times in combat, and I don't have one. This is only the second time I've pinned on an award that I didn't hold myself," said Taylor, who stressed the significance of the award.

The Bronze star is an individual military decoration awarded for bravery, heroic acts or meritorious service in a combat zone during military operations against an armed enemy.

As senior communicator for a Combined Joint Task Force during sustained combat operations, Worthington was responsible for full-spectrum communications ranging from encryption and SATCOM, to maintaining reliable communications equipment such as radios and computers.

"I'm humbled that the mission commander would consider my actions deserving of such an award when there are numerous Soldiers deployed right now who in one way or another should have earned the same recognition. It does not mean that they did anything less or that I did anything more. I was just doing my job," said Worthington, whose wife and two children attended the ceremony.

"My wife definitely had the harder mission during my deployments, having to manage the house, pay the bills and raise two kids. I've spent more time away from my family than I care to acknowledge, but this [award ceremony] is an opportunity to explain to my kids why daddy was gone so much: fighting 'bad guys,'" he said.

Previously stationed at Fort Eustis, Virginia, Worthington came to CERDEC in April of 2017 where he serves as the senior enlisted advisor to the organization's Space and Terrestrial Communications Directorate. In this role, he serves as a resource to Army scientists and engineers, helping them to understand the operational challenges of the battlefield as they develop tactical communications technologies for the warfighter.

"All of us who have served have had that piece of equipment that could have been really awesome, but nobody wants to use it because it's too complex, or it just doesn't meet the operational requirements the way it should. The biggest benefit of having Soldiers embedded early in the development process is that the technology has received operational input from the users at all stages of the development before it's fielded," Worthington said.

As an Army applied research center under AMC, CERDEC strives to make a positive difference in the daily lives of Soldiers through research, advanced technology development and systems and sustainment engineering in eight core technology areas across command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, or C4ISR, technologies' and systems' lifecycles.

CERDEC works with the Defense Department, national research organizations and labs to influence research investments and to adopt, adapt and mature relevant scientific breakthroughs. From its vantage point, CERDEC can foresee trends and opportunities, rapidly leverage technological breakthroughs and shape future capabilities that support Army Modernization priorities.

"The warfighter is at the center of everything we do at CERDEC, so it is truly inspiring to have a Soldier who has served with such distinction sharing first-hand experiences as we develop C4ISR capabilities that will enable information superiority and tactical overmatch for our warfighters," said CERDEC Director Patrick J. O'Neill. "We are happy that Sgt. 1st Class Worthington has been recognized for his leadership, his dedication to duty and his tactical technical expertise."

Originally from Richardson, Texas, Worthington joined the Army in March of 2000, and has since racked up nine combat deployments. While his family is happy that his current assignment allows him to spend time at home, they too will be ready when the Army calls.

"I want for him to deploy as many times as the Army needs him to because he's the type to go above and beyond whatever is asked of him. It's nice to be here where a deployment isn't as likely, but we'll be ready for him to answer the call, whenever it comes," Tasha said, his wife of eight years.

Worthington, who has served for 17 years to keep the conflict from being passed on to his children, has four more guaranteed years of service with the Army and is considering more.

"I'll stay in the Army as long as the Army will have me and as long as I'm physically capable of doing the job. I just want to be able to work and make a difference wherever the Army sends me. I love being a Soldier."

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The U.S. Army's Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to provide innovative research, development and engineering to produce capabilities that provide decisive overmatch to the Army against the complexities of the current and future operating environments in support of the joint warfighter and the nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.