An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : News
NEWS | June 8, 2007

Randolph IP to receive AF Combat Action Medal

By Airman 1st Class Katie Hickerson 12th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

A Randolph T-6 instructor pilot was selected to receive the newest Air Force medal, the Combat Action Medal, to be presented Tuesday at the Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Va., by Air Force Chief of Staff T. Michael Moseley. 

Maj. Steven Raspet, 559th Flying Training Squadron flight commander, was selected for this award in recognition for his actions, January 8, 2006, while deployed to Afghanistan.
The Secretary of the Air Force established the Air Force Combat Action Medal to recognize any military member of the Air Force in the rank of airman basic through colonel, who actively participated in air or ground combat. 

"I'm humbled to be one of the first Airmen to receive this award," Maj. Raspet said. "I have seen many Airmen do incredible things for their country in combat situations. Young officers and enlisted troops are undertaking roles and missions that just a few years ago none would have imagined." 

Major Raspet was the flight lead of a two-ship of A-10 Thunderbolts, assigned to the 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron from Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, the day he was called to cover a joint Afghan and U.S. Army operation. According to Major Raspet, the call came down that there were troops in contact with the enemy in an area of known heavy Taliban activity. 

"It was only a 13-minute flight, but when we got there, we broke out eight stationary vehicles exposed in the middle of a large dried-up riverbed," he said. 

During the fire-fight, friendly forces began taking on more enemy fire from a building just west of the convoy's last vehicle, and requested cover fire from Major Raspet. Troops on the ground were unable to provide exact coordinates, so a .50 caliber machine-gunner provided marks to follow and identify where the enemy was located. 

"My wingman, First Lieutenant, now Captain, Andrew Tenenbaum, first picked up the target. I requested a run-in from the southeast, and was positive that we were on target," the major said. "I was cleared to proceed with my run. I had good weapons effects and the bullets were observed hitting the southeast face and top of the two-story building. Thanks to my wingman's help, the target was successfully suppressed." 

The convoy, which had taken on improvised explosive device injuries earlier that day, was then able to move out and safely return to the forward operating base, while Major Raspet and his wingman continued to make shows of force and provide air presence to deter any follow-on attacks. 

"This medal truly represents the changing face of Air Force combatants," said Major Raspet. "In this age of instant news and information, the price of failure has major ramifications." 

The major said his experience in Afghanistan was that the men and women in the Air Force have more than met the nation's expectations. 

"This should serve as a reminder to all of us at Randolph to focus our attention on training these Airmen for the challenges that await them," he said. "I think this medal will do a great deal to recognize all Airmen throughout the Air Force, regardless of their role in operations abroad." 

Major Raspet's wife, Lynne, three children, parents and squadron commander, Lieutenant Col. Jimmy Donohue, will accompany him to Arlington for the award presentation. 

"Major Raspet is truly deserving of this award," said Colonel Donohue. "We are very lucky to have talented, combat seasoned pilots like Major Raspet with us at Randolph helping forge combat air power. 

"His experience sets a level of expertise, duty and heroism that rings true for all pilots called to act, for both students and seasoned aviators."