PORTLAND, Oregon - The Oregon Air National Guard's 125th Special Tactics Squadron (125th STS) awarded the Bronze Star medal to an Oregon Airman during a ceremony, February 22, at the Portland Air National Guard Base, in Portland, Oregon.
Senior Airman Randy Theisen, a combat controller assigned to the 125th STS, was presented the nation's fourth-highest medal before his family, friends and peers. The presiding officer for the ceremony was Brig. Gen. Jeffrey M. Silver, Oregon National Guard Air Component Commander.
Theisen received the Bronze Star for meritorious achievement while assigned to the 21st Expeditionary Special Tactics Squadron, Combined Joint Special Operations Air Component, Afghanistan, while deployed from May 27, 2014 to November 10, 2014.
Theisen served as the primary joint terminal attack controller for a combined United States Special Forces and Afghanistan commando team. He controlled 238 air assets throughout 19 dynamic operations and provided the ground force commander accurate targeting data and full spectrum command and control capabilities.
During one attack, Theisen's convoy struck an improvised explosive device which triggered a small arms and machine gun fire ambush, pinning down the friendly force. Despite the threat of additional roadside bombs, he left the safety of his armored truck to assist the convoy. While engaging with his M4 assault rifle, he expertly controlled attack helicopters to strike three successive enemy positions with rockets and strafing runs.
Thiesen's engagements broke the enemy assault and freed his team from the ambush. Additionally, on a following engagement, his partner team, 600-meters away, came under heavy machine gun, rocket propelled grenade, and mortar fire. He remained in harm's way to coordinate continuous 30-millimeter gun runs with fighter aircraft, while simultaneously launching 60-millimeter mortars and also firing his own M4. His actions allowed the overwhelmed element to regroup and maneuver back into the protected compound.
The Bronze Star medal was established in 1944 and is the fourth-highest individual military award and the ninth-highest by order of precedence in the U.S. Military. It may be awarded for acts of heroism, acts of merit, or meritorious service in a combat zone.