Team McChord Airman receives Purple Heart

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kylee Tyus
  • 62d Airlift Wing Public Affairs

On March 26, 2024, a tactical air control party element leader with the 22nd Special Tactics Squadron, was presented the Purple Heart Medal. The TACP element leader received the medal in recognition of wounds he sustained while deployed to an austere location in Syria.

He suffered injuries on March 24, 2023, when he was struck by an explosion initiated by an unmanned aircraft system during the final week of a deployment in Syria.

"For people who do sustain injuries, regardless of what that injury is, there are many resources that are provided both internally and within the Air Force as a whole that can get them back on track to continue doing the same job," said the element leader.

According to U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Daniel Catino, the commander of the 22nd Special Tactics Squadron, the morning after the blast, the element leader received news that they would be departing their location immediately to reduce the outpost's footprint in case of subsequent attacks. Upon their return, he underwent evaluation for a traumatic brain injury and received a computerized tomography scan since his symptoms were not improving.

Shortly after, he was flown to a medical center in Germany for additional testing and treatment.

"It's an honor to be part of a team of warriors like him; it's a great community to be a part of," said Catino.

The Purple Heart Medal is awarded to service members who have been wounded or killed because of enemy action while serving in the U.S. military. It is the oldest military award still presented to service members.