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TSgt Robert Bonello

Operation Enduring Freedom

April 14, 2012
Faryab, Afghanistan

Award: Bronze Star Medal with Valor (and a second Bronze Star Medal for meritorious achievement)


Achievements: Heroism during ground operations in Faryab Province on April 14, 2012.


Notable Acts: Engaged enemy forces, flawlessly directed coordinated attacks, and saved lives through courage and technical expertise.


The second combat controller to be honored, Tech. Sgt. Robert Bonello, earned a Bronze Star Medal with Valor for heroism while engaged in ground operations against the enemy in Faryab Province on April 14, 2012.


On that date, Bonello served as the primary Joint Terminal Attack Controller assigned to an Army Special Forces Team. While conducting a time-sensitive air assault mission, his team was directly engaged by enemy forces. Bonello “skillfully prosecuted targets with the air assets overhead” and then proceeded to execute another time-sensitive mission when his team was pinned down by a barrage of heavy machine gun fire, the citation said.


“After an interpreter and an Afghan Commando were wounded, Sergeant Bonello broke cover, pulled the critically wounded interpreter to cover, and relayed a request for close-air support and a medical evacuation,” according to the citation. “Although Sergeant Bonello was under direct fire for over three hours, he flawlessly directed a coordinated attack consisting of four 500-pound bombs, two Hellfire missiles, and multiple strafes from fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft. His courage and technical expertise saved the lives of his teammates and resulted in 16 confirmed enemy killed in action.”


Bonello also was awarded a second Bronze Star Medal on Sunday, for meritorious achievement while engaged in ground combat against the enemy from Nov. 16, 2011 to May 1, 2012. During this time, Bonello served as the primary Joint Terminal Attack Controller attached to an Army Special Forces Team.


While conducting deliberate clearing operations in remote areas across northern Afghanistan, he controlled 160 rotary- and fixed-wing assets and conducted 40 combat missions, including 12 helicopter assaults, according to the citation.


“Sergeant Bonello also controlled 30 helicopter landing zone sorties and four medical evacuations resulting in the life-saving treatment of three wounded Afghan Commandos and a local national interpreter,” the citation said. “On five different occasions, Sergeant Bonello was decisively engaged by enemy forces. 


During each engagement, he calmly and methodically coordinated intimidating displays of airpower to decimate the enemy with limited collateral damage and no civilian casualties. His courage and technical expertise saved the lives of his teammates on multiple occasions and resulted in 47 confirmed enemy killed in action.”

Silver Star Medal graphic for Combat Control Acts of Valor

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