Special Operations News

Special Tactics Airman to be Awarded Silver Star

Air Force Master Sgt. John Grimesey, Flight Chief of the 21st Special Tactics Squadron, Pope Field, N.C., will receive the Silver Star Medal for his actions in Afghanistan.

During a clearing mission in Afghanistan on May 25, 2013, Grimesey and his team encountered enemy fire while attempting to save an Afghan commander who had been shot by opposing forces. Grimesey was attacked with a rocket propelled grenade, and despite his injuries, saved the life of an American special forces solider all while returning fire to enemy forces.

Grimesey proceeded to engage the enemy while also controlling multiple air strikes. In total, he and his team took out 31 enemy fighters, recovered the body of a highly regarded Afghan commander, and saved multiple American and Afghan lives.

The Silver Star medal is an upgrade from a previously-awarded decoration.

Grimesey will also receive the Bronze Star Medal, second oak leaf cluster with Valor for his quick and precise response during an ambush in Afghanistan in 2017.


– The Silver Star is the nation’s third highest medal for gallantry against an armed enemy of the U.S. in combat.

– The Bronze Star Medal with the “V” device is awarded for valor or bravery during combat actions against enemy forces and is the fourth highest military decoration for valor.

– Special Tactics is the Air Force’s ground special operations force that leads global access, precision strike, personnel recovery and battlefield surgical operations and is the most decorated community in the Air Force since the Vietnam War.


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