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Paul B. Widener


Air Force Achievement Medal with Combat "V"

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Awarded for actions during the Global War on Terror

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Air Force Achievement Medal (Silver Oak Leaf Cluster, with Valor) to Master Sergeant Paul B. Widener, United States Air Force. Master Sergeant Widener distinguished himself by an act of courage as HC-130P Airborne Mission Systems Specialist and Noncommissioned Officer in Charge, 79th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron, 449th Air Expeditionary Group, Camp Lemonier, Djibouti. On 28 November 2006, while deployed in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM-HORN OF AFRICA, he engaged in ground operations against an opposing armed force as a peacetime governmental detainee at El Fashir, Sudan. On that date, while conducting an air-land mission, Sergeant Widener and his crew were forcibly detained by armed members of the Sudanese military. Under false accusations of espionage, the Sudanese demanded the surrender of all crew members and aircraft. Without hesitation, Sergeant Widener established critical communications with appropriate military and diplomatic channels. He initialized survival radios in preparation for the crew's evasion plan of action and established a plan for destruction of all classified material in the event the crew was overrun by the overwhelming hostile force of over 150 heavily armed troops. Sergeant Widener's actions ensured all 17 American detainees returned with honor. By his prompt action and humanitarian regard for his fellow Airmen, Sergeant Widener reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Action Date: 28-Nov-06

Service: Air Force

Rank: Master Sergeant

Company: 79th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron

Regiment: 449th Air Expeditionary Group