Robins officer earns Bronze Star Medal

  • Published
  • By Wayne Crenshaw
  • 78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Contracting for goods and services related to military operations doesn't just happen in the safety of offices at installations like Robins.

Contracting is also a vital component of military operations on the ground in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. Friday, Lt. Col. James Boles Jr. was awarded a Bronze Star in recognition of his efforts as a contracting officer in Iraq.

After the ceremony, Colonel Boles said many people do not realize how much contracting has to take place in the war zone in order for Soldiers and Airmen to get their jobs done.

"One thing you learn is that contracting is a catalyst for change," he said. "Things are happening every day where soldiers are trying to get supplies, services and construction done."

Colonel Boles is chief of the Electronic Warfare Contracting Division in the 542nd Combat Sustainment Group here. In Iraq, he served as chief of the Joint Regional Contracting Center in Mosul from December 2007 to December 2008.

During that time, according to the citation, he was responsible for 732 contracting actions worth $200 million and directly contributed to numerous mission successes. He led an eight-person team that endured direct mortar attacks at their location, the citation stated.

The contracting items Colonel Boles directed included construction of barriers to improve security at locations throughout Northern Iraq, which helped protect Coalition forces from mortar and rocket attacks. He also helped acquire crop dusters that were used to protect Iraqi crops from infestation, thus ensuring a food supply.

Many of the contracts his team arranged were done on very short notice, the citation stated.

Maj. Gen. Polly Peyer, commander of the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center, presented the medal to Colonel Boles in a ceremony witnessed by about 50 people.

"It's not very often that people get a Bronze Star. Unfortunately, with the conflict we are in, we are giving out more Bronze Stars," she told the audience after pinning the medal. "But when we have people operating under those circumstances, leaving family behind, I think it is right that we honor people coming back from the theater."

Colonel Boles told those in attendance that his co-workers at Robins can share in the success because he relied on their support.

"We grew up in the old Air Force where everybody took care of one another, so it was good to see that kind of Robins' spirit and it really renewed our faith in the Air Force," he said.

The Bronze Star is the military's ninth highest medal.