Leader Blues

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

TOP STORY > >Airman’s efforts earn Bronze Star

MSgt. Mark Evans of Little Rock Air Force Base received a Bronze Star at the base Tuesday for distinguishing himself with his achievements in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Evans, a member of 314th Security Forces Squadron Antiterrorism and Force Protection NCOIC, led in thwarting three separate mortar and rocket attacks at Camp Bucca in southern Iraq as a battle noncommissioned officer assigned to the Battalion Tactical Operations Center.

His performances in a variety of positions while fighting insurgents, culminating in becoming flight sergeant of the 586th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron in support of Iraqi Freedom, were exemplary, his citation read.

Evans had trouble putting his feelings about receiving the honor into words.

“I was speechless,” Evans said. “I really just want to give credit to my team.”

After Camp Bucca was attacked, Evans quickly directed defense forces to covered positions around the base, providing 360-degree security to identify and neutralize the attacking insurgents.

While a flight sergeant with the 586th, his leadership improved the comeback effectiveness of joint forces charged with protecting the largest internment facility in the Department of Defense with more than 14,000 detainees and a logistical support area housing more than 3,000 coalition forces.

As squad leader for area security operations, Evans was responsible for a large tactical and defensive footprint “outside the wire.”

In three months, he led 117 combat patrols over 5,000 miles of Iraqi roadways conducting mounted, dismounted and presence patrols, improvised explosive device and wire sweeps, personnel security details, listening and observation posts and vehicle checkpoint operations into and out of Iraq.

He conducted 40 counter-improvised explosive device sweeps along the main and alternate supply routes, helping to secure 253 coalition convoys carrying more than 1,000 personnel and 2,000 vehicles delivering food, water, fuel, ammunition and other critical items.

Evans led his team on 11 personnel security-detail missions, where he transported communications experts from Camp Bucca to the Port of Umm Qasr to troubleshoot critical communications problems with British forces.

As a result of his efforts, critical mission command-and-control equipment was fixed and communications between British forces and Camp Bucca’s Tactical Operations Center were restored.

When requirements for the area security operations mission increased by three squads, Evans was selected to identify and obtain the resources needed to support the mission increase and reorganize existing forces to fill the new manpower requirements. In less than a week, the squads were operationally prepped and countering enemy activity.

As a flight sergeant, Evans led a joint-service flight that included 60 soldiers and airmen assigned to perimeter security, internal base defense and entry control.

Shortly after Evans took over additional duties, insurgents again launched multiple rocket attacks against Camp Bucca. After being attacked, Evans quickly responded to the call, secured his off-duty forces and began assisting with additional security posting.

Within minutes of recall initiation, Evans had five additional mobile teams on the road, conducting area sweeps for injured personnel and unexploded ordnance.