By Sgt. 1st Dan CarrFebruary 16, 2009
COB SPEICHER, Iraq - Four pilots from 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade were recently awarded the Combat Action Badge for their actions during a November air-assault mission.
Col Erik Peterson, 10th CAB commander, presented the badge to Chief Warrant Officer 4 Thomas Burns, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Randy Brooks, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Chad Khors and 1st Lieutenant Tyler Merritt in a Feb. 4 ceremony here.
During the Nov. 16 mission, the AH-64 Apache pilots were providing aerial overwatch while UH-60 Blackhawks landed to insert ground forces, when they were fired upon by two individuals.
"We engaged the enemy," said Capt. Robert Taylor, Alpha Company commander, one of the pilots on the mission. "We neutralized the enemy and our ground forces were able to move on to another objective."
Later during the same mission, the ground forces found themselves receiving enemy fire from an unknown location.
"Our guys were pinned down in a bunker and couldn't see the enemy, but I could," Brooks said of his aerial vantage point. "So we engaged the enemy and neutralized the situation."
According to regulation, the Combat Action Badge may be awarded to any Soldier "personally present and actively engaging or being engaged by the enemy, and performing satisfactorily in accordance with the prescribed rules of engagement."
While he's proud of his achievement, it is not the badge itself that means so much to Brooks, but how he earned it that means the most.
"Every day I go out there, it feels good to support the ground guys," he said. "It's an honor to receive the CAB, but it's a bigger honor to support our guys."