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EOD tech receives Silver Star for gallantry

Nov. 20, 2012 - 06:16PM   |   Last Updated: Nov. 20, 2012 - 06:16PM  |  
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An air commando from the 1st Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron received a Silver Star during a ceremony at the Pentagon on Nov. 14.

Tech. Sgt. Joseph Deslauriers, an explosive ordnance disposal technician, earned the medal for gallantry in action while serving in Afghanistan on Sept. 23, 2011.

"We talked about honor, sacrifice and courage. We don't think about that stuff; we just do what we do, and we love it. I'd do it all over again," Deslauriers said.

According to the award's citation, Deslauriers disabled one improvised explosive device and conducted a post-blast analysis of three subsequent detonations, all within four hours. He then provided medical aid to an injured service member and used his detector to clear a safe path for the medical evacuation helicopter to land.

While clearing the area, Deslauriers stepped on an initiation system for an IED. Despite sustaining grave injuries, he continued to pass along information about the device that helped his team continue the mission while his teammates treated him for his injuries. His actions led to the extraction of two wounded Marines and two vehicles and completion of the mission.

Deslauriers said he was honored to stand in the Pentagon's Hall of Heroes, a place that pays tribute to the memory of hundreds of service members, including Medal of Honor recipients.

"You belong here," said retired Gen. Norton Schwartz, former Air Force chief of staff.

"Thank you, sir," Deslauriers said.

"To hear that from you, and from everybody here, is a great honor."

The Silver Star is the third-highest military decoration for valor.

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