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115th Fighter Wing Airman receives Combat Action Badge for service in Afghanistan

MADISON, Wis. -- Tech. Sgt. Chontelle Southworth, a crew chief with the 115th Fighter Wing, was honored Friday with the Army Combat Action Badge for her duties while assigned to the 97th Agribusiness Development Team at Camp Wright in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, during early 2013.

Southworth, who was deployed as a veterinary tech and animal husbandry specialist with the ADT, was in her room, when the base came under an indirect fire attack.

"In more than 30 years of military service, I can only think of one or two other times one of our Airmen have received this," said Col. Donald Hamilton, commander of the 115th Maintenance Group and who presented the award. "This award reflects your commitment and dedication to duty."

The award came as a surprise.

"I had no idea I was getting this," said Southworth. "At the time, we were getting hit for like four or five days straight; I really didn't think I was going to get an award out of it."

Southworth was less than 75 feet away from a large mortar round that exploded and even though her life and the lives of those around her were at stake, she put little emphasis on the incident - even after receiving the award, her focus was all about the mission she was sent there to complete.

This is the second CAB awarded to a 115th Fighter Wing member in recent years.

1st Lt. Stephen Montgomery was previously awarded the CAB for his service with the 82nd ADT while assigned as its public affairs officer at Camp Wright. The 82nd ADT, the first ADT Wisconsin sent, preceded the 97th ADT in Kunar.

"As a commander I am very proud," said Col. Jeffrey Wiegand, commander of the 115th Fighter Wing. "It is not every day you see Airmen stepping up to deploy for a year with the Army--I have two that answered that call."

The CAB is awarded to anyone not eligible for the Combat Infantryman Badge while performing duties in an area where hostile fire pay or imminent danger pay is authorized and who are personally present and actively engaging or being engaged by the enemy. The CAB may be awarded to a service member from any branch of service; however, is only authorized for wear in the U.S. Army.
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