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Bronze Star awarded to impeccable leader

Lt. Gen. Robert D. Bishop Jr., 3rd Air Force commander, presents Lt. Col. David Iverson, 492nd Fighter Squadron, with a Bronze Star medal during an Airmen’s Call March 19 at RAF Lakenheath, England. Colonel Iverson earned the Bronze Star for efforts supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Perry Aston)

Lt. Gen. Robert D. Bishop Jr., 3rd Air Force commander, presents Lt. Col. David Iverson, 492nd Fighter Squadron, with a Bronze Star medal during an Airmen’s Call March 19 at RAF Lakenheath, England. Colonel Iverson earned the Bronze Star for efforts supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Perry Aston)

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- "A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don't necessarily want to go, but ought to be." - Rosalynn Carter 

The Air Force recognized such a leader March 19 when Lt. Col. David Iverson, 492nd Fighter Squadron director of operations, was awarded the Bronze Star Medal. He received the honor from Lt. Gen. Robert Bishop, 3rd Air Force commander, at an Airmen's call here. The award was presented for operations at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan last year, where Colonel Iverson served as the 492nd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron director of operations. 

"I am humbled, grateful and a little embarrassed," Colonel Iverson said, of receiving the award. "I'm humbled that the leadership above me thought I did my job well enough to earn such a great honor and grateful for the amazing men and women of the 492nd FS whom I had the honor of deploying with. I'm a little embarrassed because, although given to me, this medal represents nine months of hard work by almost 300 individuals that culminated in our deployment to Operation Enduring Freedom." 

According to the citation, Colonel Iverson guided combat operations in generating more than 1,500 combat sorties, totaling more than 6,088 flight hours and expending more than 500,000 pounds of munitions in direct support of 25 multinational coalition groups. These missions had an overall success rate of 99 percent. His outstanding leadership, management and combat skills aided immeasurably in achieving national security objectives in support of OEF. 

Colonel Iverson explained the importance of trust and respect for the men and women he works with in a leadership role. He said he reminds himself every day to "make them prove they can't do something, not that they can." His leadership style affected his efficiency while deployed in a positive way. 

The citation states that his leadership was instrumental in ensuring F-15's supported more than 1,228 close air support, time sensitive and deliberate target missions that accounted for eliminating 587 enemy combatants and three regional Taliban commanders. 

"Everyday I do the best job I can. I try not to look too far ahead and just focus on the job at hand," Colonel Iverson said. "Bloom where you're planted is what I've always been told, so that's what I try to do." 

He attributes his success to the men and women he had the opportunity to serve with, from maintainers to flyers, and all those in between. 

"Every item in the citation was not because of me, but because of them. I have never seen a group work so hard in my entire life."