Credit is Due Where Credit is Due...

Even if it's Overdue

Written by Spc. Kelly K. Collett  - Published - Nov. 2, 2004

   

SFC Rick Thalman was awarded the Bronze Star medal for meritorious service while in Iraq.

Photo by Spc. Kelly Collett

SFC Rick Thalman was awarded the Bronze Star medal for meritorious service while in Iraq.

Six months have gone by since the 1st Armored Division awarded Bronze Star medals to Soldiers of the 1457th Engineers while serving in Iraq.  Yet, three soldiers did not receive their Bronze Stars until this last Sunday.

 

However, the bureaucratic delays that kept these Soldiers from receiving their awards on-time could not dampen the spirit in which they were earned or presented.  

 

Sgt. 1st Class Rick Thalman, the platoon sergeant for Bravo Company, Second Platoon was awarded the medal on Sunday at Camp Williams.  He was recognized for his service while in Baghdad Iraq, where he performed outstandingly, and was instrumental in carrying out every mission assigned to his platoon.  Lt. Col. Jeff Burton, Battalion Commander of the 1457th Engineers, pinned Sgt. 1st Class Thalman in front of his troops and his wife.  

 

Later that afternoon at the American Fork armory, two more soldiers were awarded the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service while in Iraq.  This time Lt. Col Burton was the recipient honored along with Capt. Mel Anderson.   Their families looked on with a mix of pride and emotion as the two men stood in front of their comrades and were awarded their medals by Brig. Gen. Stanley Gordon, assistant adjutant general for the Utah Guard.

 

Capt. Anderson served as the Intelligence Officer for the 1457th Engineer Battalion while in Iraq however,

Lt. Col. Jeff Burton and wife Charn smile while visiting with troops.  Lt. Col. Burton was awarded the Bronze Star medal for meritorious service while commanding the 1457th Engineers in Iraq.

Photo by Spc. Kelly Collett

Lt. Col. Jeff Burton and wife Charn smile while visiting with troops.  Lt. Col. Burton was awarded the Bronze Star medal for meritorious service while commanding the 1457th Engineers in Iraq.

 he was also assigned a number of additional duties.   The most memorable (and the one in which the Bronze Star is based) involved constructing the headquarters facility for the newly formed Iraqi Civil Defense Corps.  As the project manager, Capt. Anderson worked daily with local Iraqi contractors.  In the end, not only did he construct a building, but more importantly, he fostered relationships of understanding and mutual trust. 

 

Lt. Col. Burton earned his Bronze Star by exceeding expectations (particularly for a National Guard unit) and always delivering when called upon.  The 1457th worked constantly to support the mission of the 1st Armored Division.  Because of their consistently quick response time and willingness to always accept and succeed on difficult missions, the unit was dubbed the 911 battalion.  Ask any 1457th Soldier and they’ll tell you that Lt. Col. Burton had everything to do with their reputation.

 

The 1st Armored Division can be thanked for their untiring efforts to push the paperwork through to make sure these Soldiers were congratulated for their sacrifice, time and extra effort that they contributed to the overall mission in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

 

Captain Anderson and Lt. Col. Jeff Burton standing in front of the ICDC in Iraq.  Both were recipients of the Bronze Star Medal for their actions in Baghdad.

Photo by Utah National Guard

Captain Anderson and Lt. Col. Jeff Burton standing in front of the ICDC in Iraq.  Both were recipients of the Bronze Star Medal for their actions in Baghdad.