AFSOC Special Tactics Airmen garner Sijan award....... On Nov 9, 1967, Capt. Lance P. Sijan ejects from his F-4C Phantom over North Vietnam and successfully evades capture for more than six weeks. The enemy eventually captures him, but he manages to escape. Captain Sijan receives the Medal of Honor posthumously. His spirit and determination inspired a fellow prisoner of war to nominate him.
by 1st Lt. Brionna Ruff
Air Force Special Operations Command Public Affairs

3/31/2014 - HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- Two Air Force Special Operations Command Airmen were selected for one of the Air Force's most prestigious awards, the 2013 Lance P. Sijan USAF Leadership Award.

The award recognizes Airmen who embody the highest forms of leadership in all aspects of their lives. It calls for candidates to demonstrate leadership through responsibility, professional leadership, leadership image and community involvement.

Maj. Randall Harvey, a special tactics officer assigned to the 320th Special Tactics Squadron, Kadena Air Base, Japan, is the recipient in the junior officer category.

Master Sgt. Delorean Sheridan, a Combat Controller assigned to the 21st Special Tactics Squadron, Pope Field, N.C., is the recipient in the junior enlisted category.

Both Airmen possess common traits when it comes to leadership: humble attitudes, and respect for their people.

Harvey, a captain at the time of his nomination, was awarded two Bronze stars (one with valor), the nation's third highest combat decoration, in May 2013 for his leadership in combat. He was the lead Combat Controller allocating airpower to maneuver six teams during a seven-day, 500-person assault in Afghanistan.

As the only Airman on an Army Special Forces team, he engaged in a two-day operation where he controlled 14 different airstrikes, killed 39 enemies and wounded 15, according to the award citation.

He also exposed himself to enemy fire during an engagement, in order to cover friendly forces and allow his teammates to remove the wounded from the danger zone.

Harvey doesn't take much credit for the award, but instead speaks about his people.

"I am deeply humbled to win this prestigious award," said Harvey. "Awards like this say less about me as an individual and more about those who I have worked with along the way."

Sheridan deployed to Afghanistan in 2013 as the only Air Commando with an Army Special Forces team. He engaged in 18 firefights, leveraged 141 close air support and reconnaissance aircraft, killed 46 enemies and helped break "Taliban grip," earning him his second Bronze Star.

During the deployment, Sheridan's leadership and bravery again helped save the lives of his teammates. He was preparing for a mission in Afghanistan when an Afghan police officer and 20 insurgents opened fire on the team. Sheridan eliminated the ambush initiator before he pulled his wounded teammates out of harm's way while calling in airstrikes and medevac flights, helping save 23 lives. His actions earned him the Silver Star.

Sheridan credits his special tactics predecessors for emphasizing the importance of holding himself to a higher standard and doing what was necessary to accomplish the mission; similar to what Sijan had to do.

"When I began my military career my goal was to be the best operator I could be. I studied and watched the actions of my predecessors, guys like Capt Blake Luttrell and Senior Master Sgt. Davide Keaton," said Sheridan. "A mentor of mine once told me 'for a Combat Controller, exceeding the standard is the standard.' Capt. Lance P. Sijan unquestionably exceeded the standard and I'm humbled to be a 2013 Sijan Award recipient and represent Special Tactics."

The Lance P. Sijan award was named after an Air Force captain and fighter pilot who died as a POW in the Vietnam War. Before his capture, Sijan evaded North Vietnamese for six weeks after he was shot down in November 1967. He was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for his actions.