An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : Article View
NEWS | Nov. 27, 2023

South Carolina Guard Airman Receives Bronze Star Medal

By Senior Master Sgt. Caycee Watson, 169th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. - Master Sgt. Christopher Vine with the 245th Air Traffic Control Squadron was recently awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his achievements while deployed to Iraq in 2022, making him the only current South Carolina Air National Guard enlisted Airman to hold this honor.

Vine was the airfield operations flight chief with the 443rd Air Expeditionary Squadron while deployed to Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, to support Operation Inherent Resolve. He was responsible for more than 45 personnel and a 4.5 million square foot airfield.

During his seven-month deployment, Vine proved his combat leadership capabilities after unmanned aerial systems and rockets were launched in an attack at the base.

“One night, we got attacked and I was sitting in my room, studying at the time, and ran out to go into the bunker with everybody else,” said Vine. “As soon as we got the general release, I went to our headquarters building and spoke to the commander. He told me that several of the rockets had hit the airfield, so I asked if it was OK if I went out and looked.”

Along with a civil engineer officer, Vine went out in battle gear and began his duty as airfield operations chief to determine if the airfield was safe. They confirmed a rocket had hit and damaged the runway.

Vine said he immediately began coordinating with other agencies to ensure aircraft that needed to launch in response to the attacks could take off and medical evacuation aircraft conducting missions could land.

Vine’s quick response enabled civil engineers to repair the airfield overnight.

Vine also coordinated personnel accountability of his unit and provided airfield status updates and synchronized repair efforts for the runway.

“I did my job,” said Vine. “I was in charge of contracting and then I became the flight chief. I had great leaders that put me in areas outside my comfort zone to challenge me.”

In addition to his quick response in a combat environment, Vine says what he’s most proud of from his deployment had more to do with his actual career field as a radar, airfield and weather systems technician.

“There was an ongoing outage with the German radar, which provided the big picture in that location,” said Vine. “I had to actually go into the radar to identify the outage and coordinate with the German contingent, then work with the contractors on base to fix it. So, it was trying to get everyone talking the same language, figuratively and literally.”

Vine’s efforts restored situational awareness for the Combined Forces Air Component commander across the region.

“Master Sgt. Vine has been an amazing asset to the 245th ATCS and U.S. Central Command, as exemplified in his being awarded the Bronze Star for his leadership skills and judgment in a hostile environment — always getting the mission accomplished while taking extra care of his Airmen,” said Lt. Col. Zachary Counts, the 245th ATCS commander. “Vine is a role model, and our unit is extremely fortunate to have such a capable individual among our ranks.”

Vine was recognized as the 2022 Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year for the South Carolina Air National Guard and is known for going above and beyond as a Swamp Fox leader.

The Bronze Star Medal is awarded to members of the U.S. Armed Forces for either heroic achievement, heroic service, meritorious achievement, or meritorious service in a combat zone.

 

 

Related Articles
U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Matthew Salazar, a crew chief with the 169th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, South Carolina Air National Guard, washes the canopy on an F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jet during exercise Sentry Savannah hosted by the Air Dominance Center in Savannah, Georgia, May 9, 2024. Sentry Savannah is the Air National Guard’s premier 4th- and 5th-gen fighter integration exercise, with this year’s event involving more than 775 participants and 40 aircraft from six units.
Air Guard Units Test Readiness at Sentry Savannah Exercise
By 2nd Lt. Nicole Szews, | May 22, 2024
SAVANNAH, Ga. - Over 775 participants and 40 aircraft from units across the Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve and Active Duty Air Force participated in Sentry Savannah 2024, the Air National Guard’s premier fighter...

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 169th Fighter Wing, South Carolina Air National Guard, are greeted by family and wing personnel as they return from a six-month deployment to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility April 10, 2024. Approximately 150 Swamp Fox Airmen deployed in support of 9th Air Force (Air Forces Central) to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, the unit’s first deployment as an expeditionary air base team under the new Air Force Force Generation model.
South Carolina National Guard Airmen Return From Deployment
By Capt. Lisa Allen, | April 12, 2024
MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. - Airmen assigned to the 169th Fighter Wing returned to South Carolina April 10, ending a six-month deployment to U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility as part of the new Air...

U.S. Air National Guard Master Sgt. Terra Davila, 169th Fighter Wing, McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina, and first sergeant at a Sikeston, Missouri, medical site, checks on U.S. Army Reserve Spc. Nikolas Taylor, combat medic for the 305th Minimal Care Detachment, Joplin, Missouri, during Operation Healthy Delta Innovative Readiness Training, June 17, 2023. IRT missions provide service members with training and readiness skills while helping support local community needs.
South Carolina Air Guard Supports Operation Healthy Delta
By Airman 1st Class Danielle Dawson, | June 22, 2023
SIKESTON, Mo. – Airmen from the South Carolina Air National Guard’s 169th Fighter Wing participated in Operation Healthy Delta, providing free medical, dental and vision care to several thousand people in Missouri and...