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Dobbins reservist given prestigious award

DOBBINS AIR RESERVE BASE, Ga. -- As military members the chance of being in harm’s way is always a possibility whether it’s during a deployment or service at home. Today’s military is asked to serve in places around the globe on a moment’s notice. And they do without hesitation. 

It’s that type of devotion that lead Master Sgt. Nathaniel Champion, 94th Logistics Readiness Squadron, and many before him to be recognized for serving and putting others first in the line of duty. 

Sergeant Champion was presented the Bronze Star during the December unit training assembly for his efforts while serving with the 1058 Gun Truck Detachment in Forward Operating Base Speicher, Iraq. 

Sergeant Champion was recognized for his extraordinary efforts while leading 54 Airmen through 75 thousand miles of dangerous Iraqi roads and for escorting vehicles and having all cargo arrive combat ready. 

He also developed a flight training plan that encompassed 85 core tasks and guaranteed that everyone was combat ready. Sergeant Champion led maneuvers after a road side bomb hit a convoy. He secured the site, assessed for injuries and led the convoy to safety earning him the respect of his peers. 

Stories like this and many others can be heard throughout our history. Troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan for the past four years have shown us stories of this bravery.
Recently, the first Medal of Honor was given to a soldier serving in Iraq. Sgt. 1st Class Paul Smith was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for helping to save the lives of 100 troops. 

While the lack of these medals doesn’t reflect a lack of bravery on the part of todays troops it more reflects the change in warfare. According to Nicholas Kehoe, president of the Congressional Medal Honor Foundation situations today are less likely to warrant receiving the medal than in past conflicts. “It reflects today’s change in warfare and weaponry.” 

Gone are the days of full frontal battles or charging up hills, replaced rather by air superiority and “it reflects the nature of this war, not of today’s heroes” said Charles Moskos, a military sociologist at Northwestern University. 

There were only two Medals of Honor given prior to this one. These were given to two soldiers serving in Somalia in 1993 and none were given during the Gulf War. But, the Medal of Honor is not one to be given lightly. 

While the lessening of medals may color the perception of today's military and their bravery, people like Sergeant Champion bring full circle the reality that troops are willing to go the distance to serve their country…putting service ahead of self.