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Fairchild airman awarded Bronze Star

Wed., June 30, 2010, 1:33 p.m.

Tech. 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 today.

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.

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

Convoys are used to 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 past couple of years the Army 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.

In the past year at Fairchild personnel received about six Bronze Stars for their service, Osborne said.

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