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Liberty Wing Airman awarded Bronze Star Medal with Valor

  • Published
  • By Airman Seleena Muhammad-Ali
  • 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Jeremy D. Mapalo, 48th Security Forces Squadron operations superintendent, was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Valor, the fourth highest military decoration signifying heroism, during a ceremony held Aug. 29, 2022, at RAF Lakenheath, England.

Mapalo distinguished himself while serving as the 475th Expeditionary Air Base Squadron operations superintendent, at Cooperative Security Location, Manda Bay, Republic of Kenya, from Oct. 13, 2019 to April 16, 2020.

“His actions represented the absolute best our nation has to offer… that American citizens turned American service members would voluntarily put themselves into harm's way to defend freedom for all Americans and our allies,” said Brig. Gen. Joseph Campo, 48th Fighter Wing commander.

While serving at Manda Bay, Mapalo defended Magogoni Airfield and Camp Simba against a terrorist attack. He integrated his team with forces from the U.S. Special Operations Command Africa and Kenyan Navy members to convoy outside the wire. While active enemy fire impacted on and around his position, he held overwatch security, allowing the joint operators to assault remaining enemies.

The Magogoni airfield attack historically marks the first terrorist attack on a United States military base in Kenya.

“We maintain constant vigilance with weapons pointed at the enemies and assets behind us,” Mapalo said. “We have been attacked because we are Americans and we have been thanked because we are Americans. I challenge each and every one of you to learn from these battles and find your faith on what motivates you to be successful in life. For me that's serving as a defender to fight for freedom so our future generations do not have to.”