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Louis M. Bonacasa

Date of birth: October 7, 1984
Date of death: December 21, 2015
Burial location: Calverton, New York
Home of record: Coram New York
Status: KIA


Bronze Star

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Awarded for actions during the Global War on Terror

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V" (Posthumously) to Staff Sergeant Louis M. Bonacasa, United States Air Force, for heroism as the Tactical Security Element Truck Commander, 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron, 455th Expeditionary Mission Support Group, 455th Air Expeditionary Wing, while engaged in operations against an opposing armed force at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, on 21 December 2015. On that date, Sergeant Bonacasa was conducting outside the wire human Intelligence operations in support of Operations INHERENT RESOLVE, FREEDOM'S SENTINEL, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's RESOLUTE SUPPORT mission. As the overwatch for the Gold Team Security Element, during the exfiltration of an Operation SENTINEL EAGLE outside the wire patrol, he courageously placed himself in harm's way to protect the members of his fellow Gold Team Security Element from a motorcycle borne improvised explosive device. While deliberately executing a dismounted patrol in the Bajawri village, approximately six kilometers north of Bagram Airfield, Sergeant Bonacasa was directly responsible for the safety and security of five fellow Security Forces Airmen, five Office of Special Investigation Agents and two linguists. As he provided perimeter security for both Blue and Gold Teams, his dismounted patrol was approached by a suicide Taliban terrorist operating an explosive laden motorcycle. The suicide bomber subsequently made a sudden erratic stop, which positioned his explosive-laden motorcycle within 15 feet of both security teams. Sergeant Bonacasa, with selfless disregard for his own personal safety, placed himself between his fellow team members and the terrorist's motorcycle. As a result of his heroic actions, he provided cover for two of his fellow comrades, which were approximately 25 feet behind his immediate position. As Sergeant Bonacasa maneuvered into a tactical security fighting position, the suicide bomber cowardly detonated his deadly explosive device, which mortally wounded him and five of his fellow Airmen. His incredibly heroic positioning resulted in his selfless exposure to the brunt of the deadly blast. Sergeant Bonacasa's courageous sacrifice shielded and safeguarded two of his fellow team members, which ensured the safety and survival of a fellow defender. By his heroic actions and unselfishly dedication to duty in the service of his country, Sergeant Bonacasa has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

General Orders: Department of the Air Force, Special Order G-06164 (December 28, 2015)

Action Date: December 21, 2015

Service: Air Force

Rank: Staff Sergeant