SFS Airman receives Bronze Star

Senior Airman Erika Placencia, Buckley Air Force Base, Colo., (left) and 1st Lt. Tamilyn Becker, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass.,(right) perform on stage during the 2005 Tops In Blue world tour Dec. 7 in the Freedom Hangar. Tops In Blue is an all active duty U.S. Air Force special unit made up of amateur performers selected for their entertainment abilities.

Senior Airman Erika Placencia, Buckley Air Force Base, Colo., (left) and 1st Lt. Tamilyn Becker, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass.,(right) perform on stage during the 2005 Tops In Blue world tour Dec. 7 in the Freedom Hangar. Tops In Blue is an all active duty U.S. Air Force special unit made up of amateur performers selected for their entertainment abilities.

Hurlburt Field, Fla. -- A security forces individual mobilized augmentee was presented a Bronze Star Wednesday by Col. Clifford “Skip” Day, 16th Mission Support Group commander. 

Tech. Sgt. Gary Barrow, a Fort Walton Beach native, and combat arms training and maintenance instructor with the 16th Security Forces Squadron, earned the medal for bravery while deployed to Iraq in 2003, during a ceremony at the 6th Special Operations Squadron. 

While in Iraq, Sergeant Barrow, a former Army infantryman who joined the Air Force in 2002, was the NCO in charge of a deployed site’s security forces control center, where he was responsible for the security of more than 1,500 people and special operations aircraft. 

Sergeant Barrow was recognized for his leadership skills and decisiveness to diffuse potentially deadly situations. One such situation involved an individual who walked up to the main gate at the deployed location with improvised explosives. He secured the situation and ensured that no one was injured. 

“When I saw the man approaching, I automatically knew something was wrong by the way he was acting,” Sergeant Barrow said. “I just tried to keep him from getting near any people or resources that could be injured or damaged. The local national troops physically detained him.” 

“I didn’t do anything special, I just did what I was supposed to,” Sergeant Barrow said. 

Sergeant Barrow also displayed his heroism while aircrew members on the base were taking heavy fire. He established a blocking force, which successfully prevented any injuries or damage or loss of aircraft. 

“I was in the right place at the right time, or some people might say the wrong place at the wrong time,” he said. 

Even though the events for which Sergeant Barrow is being rewarded took place more than two years ago, he was still honored. 

“My family is really excited,” Sergeant Barrow said. “My parents and everyone attended to the ceremony. 

“I’m proud of him. I’m thankful that he did his duty and is back home now,” said Dewey Barrow, Sergeant Barrow’s father and Fort Walton Beach resident. 

“He really deserves this award,” said Heather Barrow, Sergeant Barrow’s wife. “He thinks about other people first. He thinks this country is worth the sacrifice, and he would do it again today.”