A Kirtland Air Force Base technical sergeant is among 20 airmen featured in the seventh installment of the service’s Portraits in Courage series, which honors airmen who displayed bravery and determination in the face of especially challenging or dangerous situations.
On Nov. 11, 2011, Tech. Sgt. David Perez of Santa Fe was the convoy commander for a mission to Kalsu Air Base, Iraq. The convoy was traveling on Main Supply Route Tampa when it came across a high-speed, head-on collision involving two Iraqi vehicles that had burst into flames.
Perez, 29, halted the convoy and directed convoy personnel to extinguish the fire and help the crash victims. Though 12 Iraqis died in the crash and fire, Perez and his troops saved four lives, including two children, according to the Profiles in Courage website, www.af.mil/specials/courage/index.html.
As a crowd of Iraqis later gathered at the scene — some of whom appeared angry over the convoy’s intervention — Perez directed convoy members back to their vehicles to continue the day’s mission, possibly averting further casualties.
Perez, who now serves with Kirtland’s 377th Logistics Readiness Squadron, received a Bronze Star for his actions, the military’s fourth-highest award for combat.
Perez has been in the Air Force for 11 years, according to Kirtland officials.
— This article appeared on page C1 of the Albuquerque Journal