From EOD Airman to Silver Star recipient
By Airman 1st Class Emily Copeland, 7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 20, 2017
DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFNS) -- Retired Master Sgt. Kristopher Parker, an explosive ordnance disposal technician, received the Silver Star medal March 17, 2017, at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas for his courageous actions while deployed to Afghanistan in May 2014.
Parker distinguished himself by bravery and devotion to duty in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United States as an EOD team leader.
During the deployment, then-Tech. Sgt. Kristopher Parker was partnered with members of different branches of service and fellow EOD Airmen with a mission to provide enemy suppression while descending into the Mazghary Mountain range and clear a factory that was believed to produce improvised explosive devices.
While descending the mountain, Parker’s Afghanistan Border Police comrades encountered enemy combatants who were holed up in the entrance of a cave.
After the approach to the cave, Parker’s team found themselves in the middle of an extended fire fight with rounds striking within one meter. While pushing into the cave with follow-on approaches, the team came under attack by small arms fire, rocket propelled grenades, and hand-thrown IEDs.
With no means of communication, Parker braved enemy fire while sweeping the engaged area for explosive devices and pulling troops to cover, ensuring timely evacuation of wounded personnel.
As Parker continued to provide cover fire, he also engaged in clearing the route of IEDs for his team and marking additional cache sites for later destruction by air strike.
After nearly 20 hours spent in the mountain range, the operation ended with 18 dead insurgents and more than 200 pounds of homemade explosives destroyed and cleared.
“Kris saved the lives of so many Soldiers, Marines and Airmen,” said Gen. Robin Rand, the Air Force Global Strike Command commander. “He put their lives first and took care of them and that is so honorable.”
For Parker’s courage, valor and selfless sacrifice in the face of danger, the Air Force bestowed upon him the Silver Star, the Air Force’s third-highest decoration.
The Silver Star is awarded primarily to members of the armed forces for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States.
“We are so lucky to be here with this true hero,” Rand said. “A hero who has deployed several times in harm’s way. A hero that saved lives. I’m so humbled and appreciative of his incredible service. It’s a great time to be an Airman.”