Maintenance window scheduled to begin at February 14th 2200 est. until 0400 est. February 15th


Forgot Password?

    Defense Visual Information Distribution Service Logo

    363d ISR Wing SNCO receives Purple Heart

    363d ISR Wing SNCO receives Purple Heart

    Photo By Senior Airman Alexcia Givens | U.S. Air Force Colonel Jeremy Bergin, 27th Special Operations Wing commander, presents...... read more read more



    Story by Tech. Sgt. Anthony Hyatt 

    363rd ISR Wing

    A Silent Shield Maintenance Production superintendent assigned to the 43d Intelligence Squadron was awarded the Purple Heart by U.S. Air Force Colonel Jeremy Bergin, 27th Special Operations Wing commander, during a ceremony, June 15, 2023 at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M.

    U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Cory Engberg received the medal for wounds received in action during his deployment in July 2021.

    The Purple Heart, one of the oldest military awards and not an award for which service members are recommended, is presented to service members who have been wounded or killed as a result of enemy action while serving in the U.S. military. A Purple Heart is a solemn distinction and means a service member has greatly sacrificed themselves, or paid the ultimate price, while in the line of duty.

    In July 2021, (then) Tech. Sgt. Cory Engberg was deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve acting as the Special Intelligence Detachment’s carry-on systems maintenance chief tasked to support the 16th Expeditionary Special Operations Squadron (ESOS) during the final deployment of the AC-130W.

    During his deployment, Engberg spent countless hours ensuring the safe execution of more than 50 combat sorties totaling nearly 200 combat hours.

    On July 7, 2021, a coordinated rocket attack occurred at the forward operating base where the 16th ESOS was based. Upon the initial notification of the attack, Engberg woke up from his sleep, donned his personal protective equipment, and moved out towards a hardened structure, according to the award details.

    “At this point in my career, I have been shot at with small arms, mortars, rockets, and the occasional unmanned drone packed with explosives,” the Fredericksburg, Virigina-native said. “I've been on the receiving end of probably hundreds of munitions over all my deployments and reacting to it is second nature for me. There isn't any time to really think in these situations. You can feel the anxiety and adrenaline, but it's all muscle memory. If you're thinking about anything it's ‘locate the nearest cover and I really hope this round doesn't hit me’.”

    During transit, another indirect fire impact occurred within 10 meters of his position while running. The blast forced him to the ground and disoriented him.

    "In my case my luck ran out and a 122mm rocket impacted next to me,” Engberg said. “It is a very surreal feeling to be hit by an explosion and live. In the moment It was absolute chaos feeling the rockets landing closer and closer, then all of a sudden it was silence. I felt completely at peace and lost all sense of what I was doing or where I was.”

    This didn’t last long as a few seconds later, Engberg began to regain his faculties and made it to a hardened bunker site. He was then met with a wave of confusion.

    According to Engberg, the entire area was filled with dust and sand and it felt like he was dropped into a horror movie.

    “When I made my way inside, I saw everyone reacting to something, my hearing started to return through a muffled static that turned into a loud ringing,” he said. “It was at this point it dawned on me that a rocket had impacted the ops building I was just next to.”

    Following the attack, he was taken to the regional trauma center and was diagnosed with a concussion, having suffered a traumatic brain injury. Ninety-six hours later, Engberg returned to duty, carrying out a forward movement in support of the Afghanistan retrograde. Returning from combat, he continued to serve exceptionally.

    “Following the attack, I did not medivac to Germany for follow up treatment like I should have,” said Engberg. “I was in a one deep position and was responsible for a lot of equipment and material that needed to be accounted for and moved for this forward deployment. I felt it was my responsibility to coordinate these actions and safely secure every item during this transition and I didn't give much thought on my personal wellbeing. In hindsight this wasn't the smartest choice since no one truly knew the extent of my injuries since I had no imaging done up to this point.”

    He took it upon himself to complete the mission at hand and pressed forward knowing he wasn't going to quit when he was needed the most.

    “I think this mentality is what got me through the deployment and the transition back home,” Engberg said.

    “During the ceremony, Col. Bergin (27 SOW/CC) spoke about the events before and after the attack from the bio I wrote up - I think it's always more important to talk about the actions of individuals and how that impacts the people around them rather than focusing on how they got hurt in combat,” said Engberg. “Colonel Bergin just took command and I could see that this weighs on him because he will most likely have to put individuals in harm's way to accomplish the mission. I've come to realize this Purple Heart has had more impact on everyone around me than it has on me. To me this is just part of the job, but this medal makes me reflect on all the service members that have paid the ultimate sacrifice or have lost so much more than I have.”

    Engberg, who has been on eight deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan, East Africa and Persian Gulf, has served more than 1,000 days deployed.

    “The mission set and opportunities within AFSOC are amazing but keeping such a high tempo for your entire military career weighs on you a lot,” Engberg said. “I am proud of what I have accomplished and future Airmen might test for promotion on questions about operations I took part in. I am coming close to the 20-year mark and I think it's time for me to step out of the way and let the next generation of Airmen lead.”



    Date Taken: 06.28.2023
    Date Posted: 06.28.2023 08:14
    Story ID: 448162

    Web Views: 275
    Downloads: 1