12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year 2011 and Portraits in Courage Feature
Technical Sergeant Dustin Goodwin

Stationed at: RAF Lakenheath, UK

Tech. Sgt. Dustin Goodwin, 48th Security Forces Squadron flight chief.

In November 2010, while deployed to a forward operating base in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, on a joint tasking with the Army, Technical Sergeant Dustin Goodwin repelled a three-hour complex attack against his base.

Twenty enemy insurgents armed with rocket-propelled grenades, PG-7s, AK-47s, PKM light machine guns, hand grenades, and suicide vests stormed the outer base perimeter. One RPG exploded directly in front of Sergeant Goodwin on the perimeter wall. Unfazed, Sergeant Goodwin engaged the enemy and killed one fighter armed with an AK-47 rifle. Moments later, enemy fighters just 10 meters from Sergeant Goodwin and his team threw a hand grenade which landed and exploded just to the rear of their position. The blast threw the entire team against the perimeter wall. They were then attacked with more than 200 rounds of enemy fire. Despite being dazed from the explosion, Sergeant Goodwin and this team continued to engage the enemy and repel the attack. Soon another explosion, this time from an RPG, detonated against the wall by Sergeant Goodwin. Again, there was another onslaught of enemy fire. Sergeant Goodwin and his fire team stood fast until an enemy hand grenade was thrown over the wall, wounding four U.S. forces, including two from Sergeant Woodwin's team.

Recognizing the situation was becoming more dangerous by the moment, Sergeant Goodwin risked his life by leaning over the wall, engaging and killing two enemy fighters below who had thrown the hand grenades. Now with some breathing room, he teamed with the U.S. Army counterparts and radioed for close air support. A "Danger Close" situation was authorized, and Apache Helicopters engaged the enemy, as close as 10 meters from Sergeant Goodwin's position. At last, the enemy was defeated and the base perimeter held fast.

Sergeant Goodwin's leadership and courage under fire turned the tide of the battle. The after action reported revealed that enemy forces still had more than 26 hand grenades, three RPG-7s, 20 PG-7s, four AK-47s, three PKMs and five suicide vests. Sergeant Goodwin's position was credited with nine enemy personnel killed. Sergeant Goodwin was personally credited with three.

For this extraordinary actions, dedication to mission accomplishment, and service to his country, Sergeant Goodwin was award the Bronze Star Medal, Air Force Combat Action Medal, and the Army Combat Action Badge.

He was notified by Col. John Quintas, 48th Fighter Wing commander, about his selection as one of the 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2011 when the colonel visited the squadron, July 7, 2011.

"This is one of the highest awards that an Airman can receive, as it recognizes superior leadership, job performance, community involvement, and personal achievements and is personally selected by the chief master sergeant of the Air Force and reviewed by our chief of staff, Norman Schwartz," said Quintas. "Sergeant Goodwin is clearly very deserving of this honor and I'm incredibly proud to have him as a member of our wing."

"Being selected as one of the 12 outstanding Airmen for the Air Force is not an individual award, it's something that everyone in security forces can take credit for," said Goodwin.

"It's for everyone I've deployed with, gone TDY with and work with day-to-day at home station. I've always told myself if you surround yourself with greatness, then that's what you'll become."

The highlight of winning the award for Goodwin was receiving it before leaving RAF Lakenheath.

"I leave in two weeks and have been with U.S. Air Forces in Europe for so long. I'm glad I won while I'm still here and feel very proud to represent USAFE and security forces."

Goodwin and the other 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year will be honored in Washington D.C. at the Air Force Association's fall symposium in September. The nominees are authorized to wear the Outstanding Airman of the Year ribbon, with the bronze service star device. The winners are also authorized to wear the Outstanding Airman of the Year badge for one year from the date of formal presentation.