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6 Air Guardsmen being honored for bravery

Dec. 6, 2013 - 08:06AM   |  
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WESTHAMPTON BEACH, N.Y. — Six members of a Long Island-based Air National Guard unit are receiving one of the U.S. military’s highest awards for heroism for a rescue mission a year ago in Afghanistan.

The Bronze Star with a “V’’ is the fourth-highest ranking military medal for heroism. It will be awarded Friday to members of the 106th Rescue Wing’s 103rd Rescue Squadron.

The six men are being honored for their actions in rescuing three Americans and one Afghan soldier who were wounded during an attack on Dec. 12, 2012. Military officials said the air rescue specialists treated the wounded soldiers under heavy Taliban fire and shielded them with their own bodies before loading them onto a helicopter.

One of the Americans later died.

The Guard airmen are Capt. Ronnie Maloney, Senior Master Sgt. Erik Blom, Staff Sgts. James Dougherty, Christopher Petersen and Matthew Zimmer, and Technical Sgt. Anthony Yusup.

Blom and Yusup serve part-time in the Air Guard. Blom is a Suffolk County police officer. Yusup is studying to become a nurse.

The other four are full-time members of the 106th Rescue Wing.

Yusup is from Bloomsburg, Pa., while the other five live in Suffolk County.

The ceremony honoring the men is being held at the F.S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base in Westhampton Beach.

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