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Air Force Cross Recipient

TSgt Daniel P. Keller

Operation Freedom's Sentinel

August 16, 2017
Nangarhar, Afghanistan

Citation to Accompany the Award of the Air Force Cross

Daniel P. Keller

Technical Sergeant Daniel P. Keller distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism as a Joint Terminal Attack Controller at Nangahar Province, Afghanistan, on 16 August 2017.

On that date, Sergeant Keller embarked on a clearance operation against 350 Islamic State fighters. After fifteen hours of sustained contact, the assault force struck an improvised explosive device, killing four personnel and wounding thirty one. After being knocked over by the force of the blast, Sergeant Keller executed air to ground engagements while returning fire.

Sergeant Keller helped move thirteen wounded casualties to a helicopter landing zone under a hail of enemy fire. When medical evacuation helicopters were unable to identify the landing zone, he exposed himself to enemy fire in order to marshal both aircraft and aid in loading casualties. In spite of his injuries, he loaded wounded personnel into vehicles and volunteered to walk back to a combat outpost, escorting other wounded teammates. During this movement, he repulsed a three-sided enemy attack by returning fire and passed enemy positions to another Joint Terminal Attack Controller, allowing friendly forces to break contact.

His courage contributed to the survival of the 130 members of his assault force and resulted in an estimated fifty enemy killed in action. Through his extraordinary heroism, Sergeant Keller reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

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