U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. James Merchant, Air Combat Command deputy chief of the irregular warfare division, receives the Bronze Star Medal from Maj. Gen. Steven Kwast, ACC director of requirements, during an awards ceremony at Langley Air Force Base, Va., June 13, 2012. Merchant distinguished himself while engaged in ground operations against an opposing armed force, expertly leading 665 personnel across nine squadrons at four locations throughout Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The operations group, under Merchant's guidance, generated 20,938 combat sorties and 145,390 hours of close air support, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, tactical airlift, personnel recovery, casualty evacuation, and airborne command and control, in nearly six months.
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LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, VA, US
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