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Three NM National Guardsmen awarded Bronze Stars

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Bronze Star Medal recipients, from left, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Brian Philipbar, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jose Moreno and Sgt. 1st Class David Muniz, along with Air Medal recipient Maj. Rudy Salcido, at a pinning ceremony Saturday in Albuquerque. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Three New Mexico National Guardsmen have been awarded for meritorious service while deployed in Afghanistan earlier this year.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Brian Philipbar, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jose Moreno and Sgt. 1st Class David Muniz received Bronze Star Medals during a pinning ceremony Saturday morning in Albuquerque.

“On behalf of our nation, on behalf of our State of New Mexico, on behalf of the other airmen and soldiers in the New Mexico National Guard and their families, I want to thank you guys for your selfless service that you displayed during this deployment,” New Mexico National Guard Adjutant General Kenneth Nava. “I know those guys on the ground were super happy to have you guys up in the air.”

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Chief Warrant Officer 3 Brian Philipbar of the New Mexico National Guard receives a Bronze Star Medal from National Guard Adjutant General Kenneth Nava. Philipbar and two others were recognized for meritorious service in Afghanistan. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

The men, members of Detachment 6, Alpha Company of the 245th Aviation Regiment, can’t get into the specifics, but all were crew members on a C-12 aircraft flying intelligence and counter-intelligence missions.

As part of Task Force Communications, Electronic, Attack Surveillance and Reconnaissance, they provided support to troops on the ground from December 2017 to August of this year in Operation Freedom Sentinel.

“You are flying over battles,” Philipbar said after the ceremony. “It’s not like any other war. It’s Afghanistan.”

The group’s commander, Maj. Rudy Salcido, was awarded the Air Medal for his work during the deployment.

After the ceremony, the men and their families went through a reintegration course together, educating them on available resources to address challenges faced by returning military members and their loved ones.

“We have two kids. They are over the moon that he’s home,” said Aldis Philipbar, Brian Philipbar’s wife. “There’s definitely a transition period going back to a two-parent household and everyone figuring out their new roles.”

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