By Army Staff Sgt. Mark Schenk
Special to American Forces Press Service
Oct. 28, 2008 - For their efforts in building more than 25,000 square feet of housing and administrative offices for 1st Cavalry Division soldiers of 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 29 Air Force airmen received cavalry combat spurs – symbolic of cavalry service in a combat zone -- from the squadron's commander here Oct. 20.
Army Lt. Col. Daryle Hernandez awarded the spurs to the airmen of Detachment 3, 732nd Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron, after receiving the official "key" to the base.
After 12 years of Air Force service, Tech. Sgt. Charles Tolbert said, building Forward Operating Base Hunter has been an overwhelming experience.
"The golden combat spurs we were awarded today are the highest honor I have received in any of my deployments in the Air Force," said Tolbert, a Cincinnati native who is the detachment's electrician. "To say I am very proud is an understatement."
The civil engineer squadron also is responsible for building Forward Operating Base Garry Owen, a base recently built from scratch and used by the 4th BCT as a headquarters to counter weapon smuggling along the southeastern Iraq-Iran border.
The Airmen graciously accepted the spurs, but admitted they couldn't have accomplished their mission without help from the soldiers here. The Air Force unit recognized those soldiers with certificates of achievement and challenge coins for a job well done.
"It was a lot of work and long nights, but the real reward is having a nice, comfortable safe place to sleep and work," said Army Sgt. Victoria Brenic, a native of Copperas Cove, Texas, assigned to the regiment's Troop D.
(Army Staff Sgt. Mark Schenk serves in the 1st Cavalry Division's 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office.)