SSgt Sergeant Christopher D. Willson, a career Security Forces member, was an Assistant Convoy Commander on 5 December 2005 and providing security for a 29-vehicle convoy on Main Supply Route Tampa, Iraq. While traveling south on the world's most treacherous highway and traveling under an overpass, Sergeant Willson's convoy was suddenly attacked by approximately ten anti-Iraqi forces from both sides of the roadway. Without regard for personal safety, he immediately directed the driver of his gun truck to maneuver to the left side of the convoy placing his vehicle directly between the largest concentration of fire and the target convoy vehicles. Sergeant Willson's vehicle came under a direct barrage of AK-47 fire from no less than 6 enemy forces located 50 meters east of his position. Sergeant Willson directed his 50-caliber machine gunner to immediately return fire. During the ensuing firefight, he and his crew braved the onslaught of thousands of incoming rounds. His actions held the enemy at bay for approximately 4 to 5 minutes allowing the remaining convoy vehicles to exit the kill zone. Sergeant Willson's crew was credited with six confirmed enemy kills. Subsequently at the forward rally point, Sergeant Willson assumed command and control and provided a precise location of the anti-Iraqi forces for four responding Quick Reaction Forces. He immediately radioed a critical nine-line medical evacuation report and established a secure landing site for medical airlift. He spearheaded the ground support for the evacuation of two gunshot victims ensuring their quick transport to a medical facility. Finally, he placed a request for the recovery of three disabled convoy vehicles and provided concise directions ensuring their recovery. Sergeant Willson's superior performance is even more noteworthy when viewed alongside several key factors. This was his first enemy attack after nearly 100 previous convoys. He had never actually been in an ambush scenario prior to this event yet he immediately recognized the situation and acted instantly. Second, this was the first time Sergeant Willson was in charge of a 50-caliber gun truck and he performed like a seasoned veteran directing textbook tactics. Finally, his machine gunner had never operated nor even handled a 50-cal machinegun prior to this deployment and had only 15 months on active duty in the Air Force. Despite her lack of experience, she performed flawlessly adhering to Sergeant Willson's directions. Despite facing an overwhelming barrage of enemy fire, Sergeant Willson rose to the occasion and employed his training superbly. His heroic actions and application of sound and decisive tactics resulted in the protection of all 39 convoy members without a single loss of life, the safe onward movement of the convoy, recovery of all coalition assets and the successful interdiction of a bold enemy plot to disrupt coalition supply routes. He did what few Air Force Noncommissioned Officers have ever been called to do--successfully engage the enemy at short range and defend both resources and personnel. For his heroic actions, Sergeant Willson was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor.
We were in Taif, Saudi Arabia with F-111s from Lakenheath, Upper Heyford, and Mt. Home AFB, Idaho. We were on one side of the base and the U-2 was on the other. We had a tent city and they had double wide trailers. It wasn't until 1997 that I appreciated those trailers as I was now a crew chief on the U-2. The biggest quote that came out of this time and one that I still use today, EVERY DAY ABOVE GROUND IS A GOOD DAY!
I saw in the uniform area that the Men's Dark Blue Long-sleeve Uniform - 1988 was listed as worn only by men. That is not quite true and although worn mostly by men, women in Security Forces wore this shirt as part of the honor guard uniform in England in the mid to late seventies. Instead of wearing a tie we wore it with a white ascot.