[Editor’s Note:Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Below is a press release written by and photos taken by the United States Air Force.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Capt. Close is the son of Nancy Close of Fulton (who brought this to our attention, and thank you) and Patrick Close of North Carolina.]
by Airman 1st Class Joshua Chapman, 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
10/10/2008 – FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. — After a year’s stay in the southern desert of Afghanistan, Capt. Carl Close, 92nd Logistic Readiness officer, returned home to his wife a combat-experienced Airman. But on Monday afternoon, Oct. 6, Captain Close was recognized in front of family and peers for his outstanding accomplishments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom with a Bronze Star medal, signifying his achievements during deployment.
Captain Close was the Embedded Training Team senior fuels mentor for the Afghan National Army’s forward support depot while deployed to Kandahar Air Base, Afghanistan, from April 2007 – April 2008. Like many Air Force personnel in the present high-operations tempo, he was tasked with an in-lieu-of position with the U.S. Army.
“Carl was out there as an expeditionary Airman,” said Col. Robert Thomas, 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander, during Captain Close’s medal ceremony. “He was there providing our allies ammunition and fuel, getting vital materials out to get the job done. He deserves this medal and he remains a testament to the excellence that Fairchild Airmen are continually providing on the battlefront.”
“During my deployment I had the chance to work with military members from throughout the globe,” Captain Close said. “Working so closely with the U.S. Army and other foreign militaries was an enlightening experience.”
But Captain Close, with a composite sense of humility and pride, explained that it was his team that deserved the medal, as well as all others serving in the field. “I won’t lie; the job’s tough,” he said. “But all of our men and women were working hard out there; the medal speaks of their accomplishments and not just my own.”
When questioned after the award ceremony, the captain exclaimed his willingness for a chance to return to the wars in the Middle East: “If I had the chance to choose whether I’d do it again, I would … and in a heartbeat. Out there getting the job done is an award in and of itself and I would never give that back.”
Bronze Star recipient Capt. Carl Close and his wife, Kara, walk off stage after a medal ceremony Monday afternoon recognizing the captain’s efforts in Kandahar Afghanistan. Kara stayed behind during the year he was deployed to Afghanistan, a hardship many military families endure during todayÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s high operations tempo. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œA year is a long time,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â said Captain Close during his ceremony speech. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œI thank my wife for being here.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â The captainÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s father, visiting from North Carolina, also attended the ceremony. (U.S. Air Force photo / Airman 1st Class Melissa Barnett)
KANDAHAR AIR BASE, Afghanistan ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ Capt. Carl Close, a 92nd Logistics Readiness officer, poses in front of a memorial on Kandahar Air Base during his recent deployment to Afghanistan. Captain Close was bestowed the Bronze Star shortly after his arrival home for meritorious service in a combat zone. The Bronze Star is the nationÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s fourth highest honor for meritorious service. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)
Capt. Carl Close (right), Bronze Star medal recipient from the 92nd Logistic Readiness Squadron, salutes Col. Robert Thomas, 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander, at his medal presentation ceremony at Fairchild Monday afternoon. The captain received the medal for his service in Afghanistan April 2007 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ April 2008, where he was the Embedded Training Team Senior Fuels Mentor for the Afghan National ArmyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Forward Support Depot in Kandahar. (U.S. Air Force photo / Airman 1st Class Melissa Barnett)
Capt. Carl Close (right), from the 92nd Logistic Readiness Squadron, and Col. Robert Thomas, 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander, pose with a Bronze Star medal certificate signifying Captain ClosesÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ meritorious service work while forward deployed to a combat environment. The captain received the medal for his service in Afghanistan April 2007 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ April 2008, where he was the Embedded Training Team Senior Fuels Mentor for the Afghan National ArmyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Forward Support Depot in Kandahar. (U.S. Air Force photo / Airman 1st Class Melissa Barnett)