4 Fort Drum Soldiers Receive Air Medals For Valor


It was May 28, 2013 in the Kapisa Province of Afghanistan.

With Taliban bullets firing at them, a MEDEVAC unit consisting of Chief Warrant Officer 4 Kenneth Brodhead, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Melinda Walden, Staff Sergeant Kristen Halsey and Sergeant Ryan Blomquist, picked up an injured soldier and airlifted him to Bagram Hospital.

Now, those efforts have earned them the Air Medal for Valor.

"When we go out there, I get pretty numb. You don't hear a lot of things. Heard a little bit of gunfire, A little bit of yelling, but my focal point is actually go - go and get the patient," said Halsey

"When you get there, you're doing what you're taught to do. It went really fast. We didn't really think about what we were doing. We were just doing our job," said Walden.

Eleven and a half months after that job, the four received their medals at a ceremony back on Fort Drum in front of fellow soldiers.

But as any soldier will tell you, it's not about the decoration.

"For us in MEDEVAC, and I think I speak for anybody who's done this, the biggest thing is the fact that there's going to be somebody having dinner with their family tonight. Or somebody's going to have another birthday with their kids," said  Blomquist.

To pick up the soldier they saved, the aircraft was on the ground for 30 to 45 seconds at a time when every moment counted.

Friday, December 2, 2016
, Watertown, NY

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