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Douglas J. Beck


Airman's Medal

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Awarded for actions during the Global War on Terror

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 2, 1926, takes pleasure in presenting the Airman's Medal to Technical Sergeant Douglas J. Beck, United States Air Force, for heroism involving voluntary risk of life at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, on 5 May 2003. On that date, Sergeant Beck rushed to the scene of a refueling vehicle fire in the fuel terminal storage area. Without regard for his personal safety and without hesitation, he acted quickly and decisively to extinguished 962 gallons of gasoline that caught on fire. Upon seeing the fire, Sergeant Beck quickly radioed for emergency response agencies, directed the evacuation of 6 fuels personnel and then turned his attention toward the rapidly spreading fire. Grabbing a dry chemical fire extinguisher, he began combating flames that had engulfed the truck and the fill stand area. Depleting the first fire extinguisher, he quickly retrieved another and raced back to fight the remaining fire. Before emergency response units could arrive on scene, Sergeant Beck had aggressively fought and extinguished the fire. His quick actions prevented the fire from causing the refueling vehicle to explode, potentially setting aflame adjacent storage tanks and value control rooms. Had these storage tanks caught fire, the result would have been the destruction of over 2.3 million dollars in fuel receipt and storage infrastructure, critically impacting Spangahlem's ability to receive and store fuel necessary to generate sorties. The exemplary courage and heroism displayed by Sergeant Beck reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

General Orders: Department of the Air Force, Special Order G-295 (August 24, 2004)

Action Date: May 5, 2003

Service: Air Force

Rank: Technical Sergeant