FORT STEWART, GA -- For Staff Sgt. Andrew Swilling, the Army Values are not only a military code but also a way of life.

With the experiences he has learned from multiple deployments, Swilling has taken the values and has incorporated them into everything he does.

The military policeman assigned to the 293rd Military Police Company, 385th MP Battalion received the Bronze Star with Valor for his meritorious efforts while deployed, at a ceremony held in his honor here, Aug. 26.

While supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom, the 293rd's mission was to work with Iraqi police and help train them to be a more competent fighting force against insurgency causing problems in that area.

"We were part of a police training team, used to help set (the Iraqi police) up," Swilling said.

But on one day, a routine joint patrol between the IPs and MPs turned into a day of fighting.

Swilling, a squad leader, remembers the day starting off like any other day.
After receiving intelligence on an Al Qaeda meeting location being conducted in a local mosque the day before, IPs, Swilling and another squad went to the location, which resulted in eight suspected insurgents being detained, he said.

After the joint patrol with local Iraqi police from Wajihiyah, Iraq, in the Diyahala Province, Aug. 31, 2007, Swilling and his fellow Soldiers came under attack by insurgents in the area while attempting to leave.

"On our way out of the location, we came under attack," said Swilling, a native of Dalton, Ga.

Despite seeing three tours in Iraq and multiple deployments in other foreign countries, Swilling thought that when the award was to be given there were others who were more deserving of award.

Even after receiving a Bronze Star with Valor device for actions while in Iraq, the three-time Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran accepted the award by thanking and crediting his fellow Soldiers.

"It's humbling and I don't know if I deserve it," Swilling said.
"There were other Soldiers out there taking greater risks."

Swilling has taken his experiences he has learned throughout his time in the Army and has used it to help other Soldiers, said Brig. Gen. Patrick Donahue II, Third Infantry Division Deputy Commanding General for Maneuver.

"Staff Sgt. Swilling represents all that is good about our Army today," Donahue said. "He's taken all this experience and he's going back into combat and leading young Soldiers in difficult situations."

The 3rd Inf. Div. Deputy Commanding General - Maneuver awarded the Bronze Star with Valor to Swilling in a ceremony at the 385th MP Battalion company area.

The Bronze Star with Valor, created in 1944, is awarded to Soldiers who distinguish themselves by acts of heroism or meritorious efforts while in a combat environment.