Robins sergeant receives Bronze Star for service in Iraq

Robins AFB, Ga. -- A Robins Airman received an overdue honor Wednesday morning when he was presented a Bronze Star for his service during a deployment that ended more than eight months ago.

Tech. Sgt. Christopher Littlejohn, NCO in charge of refueling maintenance for the 78th Logistics Readiness Squadron, was presented a Bronze Star for his service while deployed to Camp Slayer in Baghdad, Iraq. The sergeant, who was deployed with the Army's 354th Civil Affairs Brigade, returned home in October after a sixth-month deployment.

The award was presented to Sergeant Littlejohn by Maj. Scott Hall, commander of the 78th LRS, during the squadron's commander's call.

"It is a great honor to be able to present such a distinguished award to such an outstanding individual," Major Hall said.

The Bronze Star Medal is awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity in or with the Army of the United States after Dec. 6, 1941, distinguished himself or herself by heroic or meritorious achievement or service, not involving participation in aerial flight, in connection with military operations against an armed enemy; or while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.

The certificate accompanying the decoration noted his "exceptional meritorious service during Operation Iraqi Freedom. His outstanding dedication to duty during combat operations in Iraq contributed to the overwhelming success of the command's mission. His actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, multi-national camps Iraq and the U.S. Air Force."

Sergeant Littlejohn said although he knew the 354th Civil Affairs Brigade had nominated him for the medal, he never expected to be awarded the decoration.

"It's an honor. This is a once in a lifetime deal. I never thought it would happen to me," Sergeant Littlejohn said.

His supervisors and the leadership of his squadron agreed Sergeant Littlejohn was a deserving recipient.

"It's well deserved. He always exemplifies his job and takes a challenge head on," said Master Sgt. Mitchell Moody, supervisor of vehicle management analysis.

Master Sgt. Brad Cooley, the squadron's first sergeant said, "Chris's work has always been outstanding and this is just further recognition of that."

However, Sergeant Littlejohn said he would have been unable to complete the mission at hand without the support of his wife, Cheryl, and his four children, Whitney, 15, Kiersten 10, Amber, 6, and Hunter, 2.

Sergeant Littlejohn said the hardest part of the deployment was not being able to share his experiences with his family.

"It was really hard not to tell (my wife) what was going on,"he said.

However, the sergeant said his wife has learned more about his duties while deployed in Iraq since she found out he was receiving the Bronze Star and some of the knowledge has been a bit overwhelming, yet she is proud of his accomplishment.