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Guard members receive first Air Force Combat Medals for new detachment

Two airmen from the newly formed N.D. Air Guard Detachment located at Minot AFB received the Air Force Combat Action Medal (AFCAM) during a ceremony May 13.

Master Sgt. Dominic Cook, West Fargo, and Tech. Sgt Aaron Giere, Hawley, Minn., received the medal in recognition of actively participating in combat operations while serving in Iraq in 2003. The AFCAM has only been awarded to two other members in the history of the N.D. Air Guard; Cook and Giere are the first to receive it for the Air Guard Detachment in Minot.

Maj.Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, N.D. Adjutant General and Lt.Col. Tad Schauer, Detachment Commander, will present the medal to the airmen during the ceremony.

"The Minot Air Guard Detachment contains exceptional airmen who go above and beyond everyday in the defense of our Nation. This award is a symbol of the courage and integrity that the Air Guard instills in its personnel," said Sprynczynatyk. "It's an honor to be able to share this special occasion with them."

Cook and Giere served in Baghdad, Iraq with the Security Forces Oscar 1 team where they had the responsibility of responding to hostile threats directed at U.S. and coalition forces off base. Cook and Giere distinguished themselves while responding to a dispatch in which they rescued coalition forces during a small arms fire assault. The airmen also bravely performed security sweeps of the area to ensure the location was safe preventing harm to civilians, U.S. and coalition military forces.

"Master Sgt. Cook and Tech. Sgt. Giere displayed exemplary courage that day. We are extremely proud of them," said Brig.Gen. Patrick Martin, Assistant N.D. Adjutant General for Air.

Cook served in the active duty AF from March 1993 to March 1997. In 1997 he joined the N.D. Air Guard serving in the Security Forces Squadron. In 2007, he moved from Fargo to Minot to be part of the cadre team of the new detachment. Today he serves as the training manager in the detachment.

Giere joined the N.D. Air Guard after high school in 2002 where he worked at Air Guard base in Fargo as a Combat Arms Training and Maintenance Instructor.

In 2007, he moved from Fargo to Minot to serve in the new detachment as a Combat Arms Training and Maintenance Instructor.

The AFCAM is only awarded to individuals who go outside the defended perimeter to conduct duties under lethal enemy attack and are at risk of grave danger. The AFCAM was first issued in the Air Force on June 12, 2007.

Other distinguished guests at the ceremony included: Brig.Gen. Patrick Martin, Assistant Adjutant General for Air; Col. Jeanie McMerty, 119th Wing Vice Commander; Col. Ron Solberg, 119th WG Mission Support Group Commander, Chief Master Sgt. Paula Johnson, N.D. State Command Chief, Chief Master Sgt. Brad Childs, 119th WG Command Chief, Army Command Sgt. Major Dan Job, Joint Force Headquarters Command Sgt. Major, Chief Master Sgt. Gary Ransom (Ret.) and Chief Master Sgt. Rod Shaw (Ret.).