VICENZA, Italy – A Force Protection Detachment (FPD) member assigned to the 470th Military Intelligence Brigade, received the Honduran “Great Cross of High Honor” by the Honduran Security and Defense Cabinet, Feb. 25, 2020.
Antonio “Tony” Fors, deputy chief, G-2X, Southern European Task Force - Africa (SETAF-AF), received the award for jointly working with the Hondurans for several years on security matters and community service.
The award, given to mid-level personnel involved in the Public Security field, as opposed to Ambassadors or members of Congress, cited Fors for magnificent work and help in achieving National Security Objectives.
"Much of the FPD work is done in the background and the results are often not visible to anyone unfamiliar with the program," said Raymond Kontusz, manager of the Force Protection Detachment program. "Awards such as these highlight both the professionalism of our agents as well as the humanitarian side of the FPD work, supporting not just U.S. Forces, but the local population as well. Army CI professionals have been assisting deployed forces for over 20 years and are keeping U.S. Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen out of harms’ way.”
Fors was in Honduras with the Security and Defense Cabinet that works between the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Security. It is in charge of citizen security and the National Interagency Security Joint Task Force (FUISNA).
“I am deeply honored by the recognition the Government of Honduras (GOH) has bestowed on Dan Gilbride and me," said Fors. "It was truly unexpected and I cannot avoid a feeling of humbleness at being the recipient of such a prestigious award. As I near the closing chapters of my long military and civilian career this moment will be highlighted as one of the most memorable.”
According to Fors, caring and becoming involved with the local community came as a natural consequence of his liaison work.
"The genuine warmth displayed by the townspeople in those remote areas had me looking for ways that I could improve their humble lives. Helping the local schools came as a logical choice as town officials proudly took us on a walkthrough that included their one-classroom school," added Fors. "Watching those kids, eager to learn but without notebooks and pencils, prompted us to do what we could to provide them with some relief. Aided by donations from family, friends, and 470th (Military Intelligence Brigade) families we donated a large amount of used school books, pencils, crayons, and notebooks. The minimally insignificant cost of what we donated was immediately rewarded by the heartfelt gratitude of those children."
The same situation applied to clinics located in remote locations – through contacts with friends we were able to obtain some basic medical supplies and a centripetal machine that had been decommissioned by a hospital in Texas.
"Once we received permission from the embassy we turned over the equipment to a local clinic in the Comayagua sierras," said Fors. "The gratitude of the local physician and the community as a whole was incredible. Moments like these made our jobs even more rewarding; we made a tangible contribution to a very grateful community.”
The current Force Protection Detachment representative was given the same award for continuing the liaison and assistance efforts established by Fors.