FORWARD OPERATING BASE HUNTER, Iraq - After 12 years of service as a member of the U.S. Air Force, Tech. Sgt. Charles Tolbert, assigned to the 732nd Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron, Detachment 3, said building Forward Operating Base Hunter has been an overwhelming experience.

"The golden combat spurs we were awarded today are the highest honor I have received in any of my deployments in the Air Force," said Tolbert, the detachment electrician from Cincinnati, Ohio. "To say I am very proud is an understatement."

Tolbert, along with 28 other Airmen from the Air Force Detachment, were responsible for building more than 25,000 square feet of housing and administration offices for the 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.

The commander of the "Head Hunter" squadron, Lt. Col. Daryle Hernandez, from Muscatine, Iowa, awarded the cavalry combat spurs to the air force unit after receiving the official "key" to the base Oct. 20.

The Civil Engineer Squadron is also responsible for building FOB Garry Owen, a base recently constructed from scratch and used by the 4th BCT as a headquarters to counter weapon smuggling along the southeastern Iraq-Iran border.

The Airmen graciously accepted the spurs, but admitted they couldn't have accomplished their mission without help from the Head Hunter Squadron's troops stationed at FOB Hunter.

Those Head Hunter Soldiers were recognized by the Air Force with certificates of achievement and challenge coins for a job well done.

"It was a lot of work and long nights, but the real reward is having a nice comfortable safe place to sleep and work," said Sgt. Victoria Brenic, a native of Copperas Cove, Texas, assigned to the regiment's Troop D.

Hernandez also presented the Airmen with certificates, which signified combat service as a cavalry trooper.