Photo: via US Air Force
It was the dead of night.Staff Sgt. Travis Sanford, an Air Force Special Operations Weatherman, and his patrol of Marine operators started taking harassing fire shortly after arriving at a small village. Using superior night vision technology, the patrol was able to repel the enemy’s assault.
But once the sun came up, insurgents numbering about two dozen poured out of fortifications and took the fight to the Americans. During the gunfight, Sanford manned an M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, lovingly dubbed the “SAW,” and dumped rounds on the enemy.
Return fire from the enemy was heavy, rounds impacted all around them and over their heads. Eventually the Marine beside Sanford was hit. Sanford immediately gave first aid, then conducted something called a “Nowcast”—a tactical on-location weather forcast.
The forecast aided the Medevac team develop a plan to pick up the casualty. Once the helicopter arrived, Sanford helped carry the injured Marine more than 50 yards to the landing zone.
For his courage in combat, Sanford was awarded the Bronze Star, with combat distinguishing device, Aug. 19.
Account taken from Sanford’s official citiation.
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