125th Special Tactics Sq.
Oregon Air National Guard Combat Controllers
Awarded for Heroism
CLACKAMAS, Ore. – Combat Controllers
with the Oregon Air National Guard’s 125th Special Tactics Squadron
were honored for their heroism during an award ceremony on Monday.
The ceremony took place at the 41st Infantry Division Armed Forces Reserve Center at Camp Withycombe in Clackamas.
Airmen recognized were Tech. Sgt. Doug Matthews with the rarely awarded
Silver Star; Staff Sgt. Matthew Matlock with the Bronze Star Medal with
Valor and second Oak Leaf Cluster; Staff Sgt. Christopher Jones with
the Bronze Star with Valor and first Oak Leaf Cluster; and Tech. Sgt.
George Thompson with the Bronze Star.
Lt. Gen. Stanley E. Clarke
III, Director, Air National Guard, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C.; Maj.
Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, Adjutant General, Oregon; and Brig. Gen.
Michael Stencel, commander of the Oregon Air National Guard were in
attendance at the ceremony.
Controllers with the Oregon Air National Guard's 125th Special Tactics
Squadron pose for a group photo following an award ceremony, March 24,
2014. (Tech. Sgt. John Hughel, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)
Controllers with the Oregon Air National Guard’s 125th Special
Tactics Squadron pose for a group photo with Air National Guard
Director Lt. Gen. Stanley E. Clarke III (third from left) and Air
National Guard Command Chief Master Sergeant James W. Hotaling (center)
following an award ceremony, March 24, at the 41st Infantry Division
Armed Forces Reserve Center at Camp Withycombe, in Clackamas, Ore. From
left: Staff Sgt. Christopher Jones received the Bronze Star with Valor
and first Oak Leaf Cluster; Staff Sgt. Matthew Matlock received the
Bronze Star Medal with Valor and second Oak Leaf Cluster; Lt. Gen.
Stanley Clarke; Chief Master Sergeant James Hotaling (a former Oregon
Air Guard member); Tech. Sgt. Doug Matthews received the rarely awarded
Silver Star; and Tech. Sgt. George Thompson received the Bronze Star.
3/25/2014 - CLACKAMAS, Ore. -- The
Oregon Air National Guard honored a group of Airmen with the 125th
Special Tactics Squadron with a Silver Star and Bronze Star medals,
during a ceremony Monday.
Attending were Lt. Gen. Eric E. Fiel,
commander, Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, Fla.;
Lt. Gen. Stanley E. Clarke III, director, Air National Guard, the
Pentagon and Maj. Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, adjutant general of Oregon.
The Airmen recognized were Tech. Sgt. Doug Matthews with the Silver
Star; Staff Sgt. Matthew Matlock with the Bronze Star Medal with Valor
and second Oak Leaf Cluster; Staff Sgt. Christopher Jones with the
Bronze Star with Valor and first Oak Leaf Cluster; and Tech. Sgt.
George Thompson with the Bronze Star.
"The 125th STS has a proud history of
displaying valor and heroism in combat," said Maj. TJ Awada, commander
of the 125th STS. "The actions of Sergeants Matthews, Jones, Matlock,
and Thompson are in keeping with the highest traditions of this
squadron and the Oregon National Guard.
|| On Nov. 27, 2012, the
vehicle Matthews was riding in struck an improvised explosive device,
triggering a coordinated ambush near Jalrez, Wardak Province in
Afghanistan. Despite being ejected from the vehicle, and sustaining
head injuries and multiple lacerations, he immediately came to his feet
and faced small-arms fire from 12 different enemy fighting positions,
some as close as 30 meters.
Although seriously wounded,
Matthews returned fire and made his way back to the overturned vehicle
to aid his wounded teammates. He located his team leader, who was
ejected from the vehicle and seriously wounded, and moved him to safety
while continuing to exchange fire with the enemy. As his Special Forces
teammates regrouped, Matthews coordinated close air support and medical
evacuation for the wounded. Despite being exposed to enemy fire, he
continued to direct close air support, which eventually repelled the
"His heroism under fire while directing close air
support allowed friendly forces to recover all personnel with no loss
of life and maneuver out of the ambush's kill zone. Sergeant Matthews'
actions undoubtedly saved the lives of his wounded teammates and an
Afghan interpreter," the award citation reads.
| On Oct. 6, 2012,
Matlock's team began receiving intense enemy fire while conducting a
patrol in Arabon Valley, Wardak Province, Afghanistan. Matlock dove
into a nearby irrigation ditch and returned fire while coordinating air
support to suppress the enemy fire pinning down his team. He crawled to
a vantage point where he determined that two Special Forces and two
Afghan partner force soldiers were severely wounded. Matlock soon
realized that his team leader was also injured. With complete disregard
for his own safety, Matlock jumped to his feet and ran to the aid of
his teammates. He rendered first aid while coordinating medical
evacuation flights and close air support. As medical evacuation
helicopters arrived, he carried one of his injured comrades to safety
while under enemy fire.
|| On Oct. 8, 2012, Jones served as the
primary joint terminal attack controller assigned to an Army Special
Forces Team conducting a tactical ground movement in Paktiya Province,
Afghanistan. The team's lead vehicle struck an improvised explosive
device, triggering a coordinated ambush. Jones immediately returned
fire while coordinating close air support aircraft overhead. After the
initial volley of enemy fire, Jones exited his vehicle and rushed to
the command element, which was pinned down by enemy fire. As he made
his way to the front of the convoy, Jones continued to engage the enemy
and provide air support. While coordinating airstrikes, Jones lost line
of sight communications with the aerial support. Without regard for his
personal safety, Jones immediately moved to an exposed position in
order to regain communications and continue aerial coordination to
repel the enemy assault.
| Between Jan. 15 and April 15, 2011,
Thompson served as a joint terminal attack controller attached to an
Army Special Forces team, conducting more than 35 combat patrols in the
rugged terrain of Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. During one mission,
insurgents ambushed his team with machine gun and small arms fire.
Thompson returned fire, enabling the team to reach cover. He quickly
relayed the location of two insurgents he identified, enabling
Afghanistan Local Police to defeat both insurgents. Also, during a
separate patrol, his team came under heavy small arms fire from
insurgents. Thompson returned fire, re-supplied the M-249 machine
gunner, and directed mortar fire. He then controlled fixed-wing air
support, initiating an enemy withdrawal. Throughout the deployment,
Thompson controlled 34 aircraft during multiple life-threatening
The 125th STS was officially established on May 1,
2005, and is headquartered at the Portland Air National Guard Base,
Portland, Ore. The 125th Special Tactics Squadron has 79 members made
up of Combat Controllers (CCT), Special Operations Weathermen (SOWT),
and numerous support positions. Members of the unit undergo a rigorous
two-year training program where they graduate as combat divers,
military free-fall and static-line parachutists and are trained to
operate in any environment in the world.