July 1, 2010 in City

Fairchild sergeant earns Bronze Star

Convoy leader’s job ‘one of the most stressful’
By The Spokesman-Review

Col. Paul Guemmer, 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander, pins the Bronze Star medal on Technical Sgt. James Lorenzo at Fairchild Air Force Base on Wednesday.
(Full-size photo)

Technical Sgt. James Lorenzo led more than 16 military convoy missions over about 472,000 miles delivering people and supplies from Kuwait to Iraq during his last deployment in the U.S. Air Force.

During one mission, a tractor-like vehicle in his convoy called an M-915 rolled over. Lorenzo’s team had to go “boots on the ground” – or get out of their vehicles – to extract the convoy member for medical treatment. The team’s ability to save the life of the driver showed the efficiency of their training, Lorenzo said.

For his service, Lorenzo was awarded a Bronze Star, one of the 10 highest honors in the military. Fairchild Air Force Base, where Lorenzo has been stationed since 2001, held a recognition ceremony for him Wednesday.

Bronze Stars are given for bravery or acts of merit, based upon the recommendation of a commander, said 1st Lt. Casey Osborne, a Fairchild Air Force Base spokesman.

“I know it’s an honor, but I don’t look at decoration,” Lorenzo said Tuesday. “I just did my job. The Bronze Star doesn’t reflect me – that’s my team.”

Convoys carry people or supplies from resource bases to operations in other areas. The convoys Lorenzo led ranged from 40 to 60 vehicles, usually with about 50 people.

They’re made especially dangerous because of improvised explosive devices, and a key part of a convoy leader’s role is to try to identify hazards from IEDs and navigate around them.

“Convoy leader is one of the most stressful jobs in the military,” Osborne said.

Usually the Air Force does not participate in convoys, but within the last couple years the Army has requested assistance.

“Convoys are not a traditional Air Force mission, but we’re one team, one fight,” said Staff Sgt. J.G. Buzanowski, another spokesman for Fairchild.

Lorenzo, originally from Queens, N.Y., has been on three tours overseas since he arrived at Fairchild. He recently received a promotion to unit deployment manager for vehicle operations in the Logistics Readiness Squadron.

Fairchild personnel have received about six Bronze Stars in the past year, Osborne said.

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