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Ninth Air Force (Air Forces Central) Major receives Bronze Star

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Blake Gonzales
  • Ninth Air Force (Air Forces Central) Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Maj. Chris Ferguson, Ninth Air Force (Air Forces Central)/A3XC deputy chief of current operations, was presented the Bronze Star for meritorious achievement at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Dec. 21, 2021.

Ferguson received the award for his time as the 16th Expeditionary Special Operations Squadron commander while engaged in operations against an opposing armed force in Iraq from Sept. 18, 2019 to Jan. 10, 2020. Commanding 140 personnel, Ferguson oversaw the execution of 110 combat missions totaling 594 combat hours.

“It’s not every day we present Bronze Stars,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Jeffery Donhauser, 9th AF (AFCENT)/A3 director. “He didn’t just do his squadron commander duties; he was all over the base improving the security. He went above and beyond.”

As the senior Joint Special Operations Air Component – Central officer on base, Ferguson identified critical force protection shortfalls, acquiring 750 thousand dollars for bunkers to protect personnel and 579 million dollars in aircraft and assets. He also refined the munition storage plan, preserving thirty million dollars in 30-millimeter and 105-millimeter rounds and precision guided munitions for the AC-130W arsenal.

“It was a humbling deployment,” said Ferguson. “All of it was completely enabled by the squadron that I served for. The problem sets that we had to work required a lot of dedication and flexibility on their part.”

Among all of Ferguson’s accomplishments, one of the most significant was the safe evacuation of over 100 personnel during an emergency retrograde of forces under imminent threat of ballistic missile attack. Under this same threat, he commanded the alert and launch of three AC-l30Ws to provide armed overwatch and base defense for the remaining forces.

“Normally, the stress happens when you’re in the airplane, that’s when your threat is highest,” said Ferguson. “That wasn’t the case for us. The team performed exceptionally well under stressors that we don’t normally get to experience in an aircrew sense. It’s worth mentioning that squadron and praising them for the work that they did and continue to do to this day. They performed flawlessly.”

The Bronze Star is awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity in or with the military of the United States, distinguishes themselves by heroic or meritorious achievement or service while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States.

“He organized the evacuation of over 100 people while they were under a significant threat,” said Donhauser. “He did wonderful work not only for the U.S. Air Force and the base but also for our country.”