AF Master Sgt. Keary Miller and Staff Sgt. Chris Baradat get Air Force Cross

| April 21, 2017

Devtun sends us the news that Air Force Master Sergeant Keary Miller and Staff Sergeant Chris Baradat have had their Silver Stars upgraded to the Air Force Cross for their service in Afghanistan;

Retired Master Sgt. Keary Miller. a pararescueman assigned to the 123rd Special Tactics Squadron in 2002, fought in the 17-hour battle that has become known as the Battle of Robert’s Ridge.

Staff Sgt. Chris Baradat, a combat controller assigned to the 21st Expeditionary Special Tactics Squadron, directed 13 releases of 500-pound bombs and more than 1,100 rounds from A-10s and AC-130s during three hours of fighting in 2013.

The special tactics airmen had previously received Silver Stars for gallantry, but their medals were upgraded as a result of a Defense Department-mandated review of valor awards bestowed for actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Air Force Cross is the service’s second highest medal for valor in combat.

You should click over to the Air Force Times link to read what they did to earn this extraordinary honor.

Category: Air Force

Comments (19)

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  1. ChipNASA says:

    True Badasses. Good job Sergeants.
    SMSgt Says Good on ya.

  2. ex-OS2 says:

    True heroes, BZ!

  3. Commissioner Wretched says:

    Bravo Zulu! Damn hard to earn, those Air Force Crosses.

  4. 26Limabeans says:

    Nice read. Good guys doing good guy things and being properly recognized.

  5. HMCS(FMF) ret says:

    Wow… BZ to both men!

  6. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    What the hell changes that prompts these upgrades? Anyone know? The ink on Baradat’s Silver Star citation isn’t yet dry and Miller’s valorous action was in 2002. I don’t get this upgrade business. I am not opposed to it. My question goes to what prompts these upgrades from the several ME conflicts.

    • 11b-mailclerk says:

      The higher the award, the higher the headquarters required to approve it.

      Thus, a commander may approve the one he can, as an “interim award”, while higher HQ considers the higher award.

      This ensures that valorous behavior is recognized, in some way, while the paperwork grinds away on the intended decoration.

      Another reason for review is some commands may be unusually hesitant to award certain awards, or recipients. In WW2, some commands flat out refused to award the highest awards to minorities.

      Likewise, there can boe other …. Improprieties …. In the process.

      Plus, the writing skills of the recommender and the awards clerk can make or break the process.

      Thus, it is often a very good idea to review awards, most especially the highest ones.

      • 2/17 Air Cav says:

        Thanks. I did some knocking around Google and I saw that Ashcan Carter ordered a review of all awards issued since Sept 11, 2001 in Jan 2016 and that the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs reissued or continued that directive this past January. What you say is found in various articles regarding the quality of the write-up and whether it adequately and clearly describes the valorous action in sufficient detail. Some craziness apparently goes on, with individual officers in the process even having disagreement about whether certain valor is EXPECTED of a leader, such that it should not be specially recognized as it would for a low-ranking EM. It really does seem to be a mess.

  7. Club Manager says:

    Sierra-Hotel to both.

  8. chooee lee says:

    Well Done

  9. Patricia says:

    Hi guys, long time reader and lurker. Have a question. When an award is upgraded from SS to AF Cross, does the awardee return the SS? Or does he still wear the SS and now the AF Cross? Honest question, did not know the answer. Thanks in advance!

    • 2/17 Air Cav says:

      Patricia. The higher award supersedes the lower award given for the same valorous action. If there is a test in school and a student receives a B, but the test is re-graded and the student receives an A, would the student be entitled to have both the A and B included in his average? As for returning an issued medal, I don’t know. I would hope not but the bean counters can be pretty damn stupid. Technically, I suppose, the Silver Star is rescinded and replaced. Thus, only one ribbon–the DSC, not both. Unfortunately, I can’t cite to authority for this. I am using common sense, which is sometimes absent when officialdom deals with these matters.

      • 11b-mailclerk says:

        You are correct. The interim award is recinded, typically in the orders for the higher award.

        As you may have by now deduced, in addition to being battalion mailclerk, I was also awards clerk.

        I had to correct all sorts of writing, much of it quite bad. (Active voice, sir! Active voice! Sheesh….)

        Refer to AR 600-8-22

      • Patricia says:

        Thank you!

  10. HMC Ret says:

    Saw presentation on local news. Both now civilians and were in civvies. Presentation was by an Air Force 4-Star.

    Well done, men. Refreshing to read of those who have been there and done that. You are in a damn elite group of honorable men.

  11. MSgt (ret), USAF says:

    Go Blue!!! Proud to say my boy just took the oath of enlistment into America’s Air Force.

  12. Ex-PH2 says:

    This is good news indeed. BZ to both of these men, and may they have long, productive lives.

  13. Hondo says:

    Well done, men. Damn well done.