Local Airman Receives Third Highest Medal for Valor in a Battle

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Bravery, sacrifice and valor are what is takes to provide our nation with freedom. A Panhandle man is the recipient of one of the highest medals for extraordinary actions, skills and disregard for his own safety on the battle field. News 13’s Peyton LoCicero has his story. 

Chief Master Sgt. Michael West received the Silver Star Medal, which is the U.S. Military’s third highest personal decoration for valor. 

“I have been serving my country for almost 29 years and, I have been doing it proudly. I have been stationed all over the world. I have been able to work with some of the greatest Coalition Joint Partners you could ever ask for. It’s been an honor. And, also to have been able to work with some of the greatest aircraft in the world. I am fortunate to be apart of the United States Air Force,” said Michael R. West, Chief Master Sgt.  


“This is a time or an event that has been a long time occurring thing and it’s a Silver Star ceremony, which is a big deal,” explained Lt. Gen Brad Webb, Air Force Special Operations Command. 

In 2006, Chief West fought, saved and survived two climatic battles while stationed in Afghanistan. The Silver Star is awarded to a member of the United States Armed Forces for gallantry in aviation against an enemy.  

“He exemplifies really, what we look for in a Special Tactics Operator. He is extremely competent,” said Eric Ray, Deputy Division Chief AFSOC A30 Operations.

“It’s great to be a Combat Controller within the Air Force Special Operations Command. I get to support a lot of our joint SO-COM and ultimately saving lives is a great thing,” shared Chief Master Sgt. Michael R. West.

For his actions and continues heroism, he distinguished himself by gallantry in an operation against an armed enemy.  Chief Master Sgt. West says, he was humbled by the recognition. From that battle, he is credited for saving the lives of 51 special forces soldiers and 33 coalition partners.

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