By: Nic Dezinski
Published: Monday, November 11, 2014
Photo by Master Sgt. Ivan Ruiz/Released
by Senior Airman Erin O'Shea
48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
10/29/2014 - ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- A hangar filled with Airmen focused their attention toward a stage where the 48th Fighter Wing commander stood alongside a single Airman.
Ruiz, 56th Rescue Squadron Pararescueman, was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for Heroism for his courageous acts while engaged in action against an enemy of the U.S. in Sept. 2013.
Ruiz was assigned to the 22nd Expeditionary Special Tactics Squadron, Combined Joint Special Operations Air Component Afghanistan and attached to Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha 7422.
"We are here to recognize Master Sgt. Ivan Ruiz and all the great actions he made in support of combat operations in Afghanistan," said Lt. Col. Jared Herbert, 56th Rescue Squadron commander. "It's special that the wing commander chose this venue in front of this many people to recognize him and his accomplishments down range, especially with combat valor."
Ruiz displayed acts of valor in the face of direct enemy fire as a special operations medic and advisor. As the 13-hour battle continued to intensify, Ruiz held strong as he climbed a hillside and exposed himself to enemy fire to suppress an enemy force. He repeatedly placed himself in great danger against a superior enemy to provide direct fire on eight insurgent fighting positions over the course of the battle. With his decisive leadership capabilities, he helped repel multiple enemy attacks and contributed to 103 insurgent deaths.
As Ruiz has only been assigned to the 56th RQS for about a month, he has experienced working alongside other pararescue troops over the course of the 18 years he has served in the Air Force.
"The thing I enjoy the most is the guys I work with in the pararescue career field," Ruiz said. "I love all my brothers, and the best part about my job is them."
Ruiz is passionate about his career and portrays unselfish dedication to his duty. He attributes this recognition to the entire pararescue community.
"I think it's very important, especially with any accomplishment or any award, that it be publicly recognized for all the hard work that everyone does," Herbert stated. "Today is a special occasion because it's a not-so-common award, especially with valor, and for the level of audience and how many people were here today. It lets them know there's a lot more going on in the Air Force than just their day-to-day job."
Airmen of the 48th FW take pride in carrying out their daily missions and continue to be recognized for their acts of bravery and courage as they remain Forward, Ready, Now.