Two airmen responsible for saving the lives of fellow service members during a suicide bombing in December in Afghanistan received Bronze Stars with Valor on Friday at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. 

Master Sgt. Aaron B. Frederick and Staff Sgt. Bradley D. Mock, both from the 824th Base Defense Squadron, were honored in a ceremony for their heroic actions ​with the nation's fourth highest military decoration for valor, in addition to each receiving the Air Force Combat Action Medal and the Purple Heart, according to an Air Force release.

On Dec. 21, six airmen were killed when a suicide bomber rammed an explosive-laden motorcycle into a joint patrol with Afghan security forces outside of Bagram Air Field. The fallen airmen, along with Frederick and Mock, were directly responsible for the safety of the other forces on the ground, which included five fellow security forces airmen, five OSI agents and two linguists.

Both Frederick and Mock were on an outside-the-wire mission approximately three miles north of Bagram when their 13- member patrol was approached by a Taliban terrorist operating a

an explosive-laden

​motorcycle loaded with explosives, according to their award citation.

Preparing for the worst,

​Frederick, the team’s patrol leader, lunged toward the attacker, just 15 feet away.

The suicide bomber detonated his device, mortally wounding six airmen and critically injuring five others. Disoriented and badly burned, Frederick quickly came to and led the remaining survivors to establish a security perimeter in the area, and directed back-up forces to send in medical evacuation. He insisted that survivors receive treatment once the medevac arrived as he remained on the battlefield confirming all were accounted for, the citation continues.

In the meantime, Mock received cuts to his face and lost consciousness for a few minutes during the blast. When he woke up, Mock, a tactical security element radio telephone operator, called in for immediate assistance to the back-up security team while simultaneously administering triage to two severely wounded teammates. He also helped secure sensitive equipment and intelligence, the citation said.

Together, he and Frederick coordinated medevac and treatment for six wounded teammates, and the extraction of 12 personnel total within 40 minutes of the blast.

In March, both Frederick and Mock, along with another surviving teammember, Staff Sgt Flavio Martinez, 105th Security Forces Squadron, Stewart Air National Guard Base, New York, were made honorary Air Force Office of Special Investigations special agents.

"Following the Dec. 21 attack, the immediate actions of three defenders were nothing short of heroic," OSI posted on its Facebook page on March 4. "In a time of chaos, uncertainty, and terror, they immediately ensured the safety of other teammates, cared for the wounded and protected the dignity of our fallen."

Four of the six airmen were OSI agents, making the attack "the deadliest day in our command's history,"  Brig. Gen. Keith Givens, OSI commander, said on Dec. 22.

In February, two of the six airmen killed were honored posthumously with Bronze Stars with Valor.

The Air National Guard awarded Staff Sgt. Louis M. Bonacasa and Tech. Sgt. Joseph G. Lemm, both with the 105th Security Forces Squadron at Stewart, "for saving the lives of other airmen at the cost of their own."

Frederick and Mock were not available for comment.

Oriana Pawlyk covers deployments, cyber, Guard/Reserve, uniforms, physical training, crime and operations in the Middle East and Europe for Air Force Times. She was the Early Bird Brief editor in 2015. Email her at

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