An Airman will receive the Silver Star for individual bravery and heroism for service in Afghanistan during a ceremony Friday at 11 a.m. at McChord’s Clubs and Community Center.
Staff Sgt. Earl Covel is a joint terminal attack controller assigned to the 5th Air Support Operations Squadron at Fort Lewis and was deployed to Iraq in support of the 1st Special Forces Group from Fort Lewis.
During a re-supply mission, his team came under attack from an estimated 200 Mujahedeen fighters trying to push coalition forces out of the city. Despite intense enemy fire, Sergeant Covel coordinated F-15 Eagle, AC-130 Gunship and F-18 Hornet close air support while ensuring adequate ground support from nearby Army Bradley fighting vehicles.
“SSgt Covel is receiving one of the highest awards given for valor … I am extremely proud of him,” said Lt. Col. Jeff Wilson, 5th ASOS commander. “His actions demonstrate courage and bravery in the face of enemy action.”
Employing highly-detailed communication channels from forward positions, JTACs direct combat aircraft to execute close-air support for U.S. ground forces. The 5th ASOS provides these specialized Airmen to directly support the Fort Lewis 2/75 Ranger Battalion and the 1st Special Forces Group.
The Silver Star Medal is the fourth highest military decoration that can be awarded to a member in any branch of the military.