Robins chief earns Bronze Star Medal Published Dec. 5, 2008 By Wayne Crenshaw 78 ABW/PA ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- In his latest deployment Chief Master Sgt. Thomas Perry took on an assignment that gave him a good overview of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. It also earned him a Bronze Star, the nation's fourth highest combat medal. Chief Perry, a member of the 53rd Combat Communications Squadron in the 5th Combat Communications Group, was awarded the Bronze Star in a ceremony held in November. He was honored for his service in the Area of Responsibility from May 2007 to June 2008. He worked in the Combined Air and Space Operations Center, supporting ground and air operations at an air base in an undisclosed location. During his deployment, according to the citation, he worked in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa. A veteran of many previous deployments, Chief Perry said his latest assignment gave him his best view yet of what's going on in Iraq and Afghanistan. "It's an honor to be recognized, obviously." Chief Perry said. "More so, it was just an honor to be over in the AOR and see what we are doing over there. It's incredible to see what our Airmen and coalition warfighters are doing in the global war on terrorism." His primary responsibility was enlisted force development -- promoting the health, morale and welfare of over 1,000 joint and coalition forces. Chief Perry said he worked with coalition forces that included Australians, Japanese, British, Korean and French. "I've deployed many times, but all the other times were not at a headquarters," he said. "This assignment allowed me to get a more strategic operational view. I got to see a lot of what our Airmen and joint coalition partners are doing out there." According to the citation, Chief Perry's leadership was "critical to ensuring enlisted force readiness and quality of life across 14 theater air bases while broadening the Deputy Combined Force Air Component Commander's awareness of sensitivities impacting deployed forces." He was also credited with changing the way awards and decorations are processed, which cut the process time by 30 percent and increased the award approval rate by 50 percent. Also, the citation stated, in five days Chief Perry resolved a year-long billeting issue, which resulted in "significantly improving the morale and quality of life for Joint personnel." "You couldn't ask for a better role model for your Airmen," said Maj. John Boudreaux, commander of the 53rd CBCS. "He is absolutely an outstanding Airman who understands the mission." Major Boudreaux also noted that at age 49, Chief Perry is in "unbelievable physical condition." A former Marine, Chief Perry has 28 years in the Air Force.