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War in Afghanistan

March 09, 2011

The War in Afghanistan commenced on October 7, 2001 with the purpose of eliminating al-Qaeda terrorist training camps, as well as securing the capture of Osama bin Laden.

The US launched Operation: Enduring Freedom (OEF) in response to the September 11th Terrorist attacks which was planned and executed by al-Qauda operatives.

Since the start of the OEF campaign, the Delaware National Guard has mobilized in support of the ongoing operations in the Afghan region. The Delaware Air National Guard (DANG) has been vital in supporting the federal OEF mission abroad. Delaware Air National Guard units & members have deployed to the Afghan region several times since 2001.

In April 2008, Staff Sgt. Aaron Weber, Staff Sgt. Aaron Sweeney, and Staff Sgt. David Gazzara, received the Air Force Combat Action Medal for being engaged by enemy forces while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. These three Airmen are the first Delaware National Guard members to receive the newly created Air Force Combat Action Medal.

According to military sources, Weber and Sweeney were traveling as part of convoy that was engaged near the Bagram Air Field. They were attacked by insurgents armed with automatic rifles, and rocket propelled grenades. They reacted quickly reporting location of th enemy forces while fighting back.

In May of the same year, Gazarra's convoy encountered a small arms fire attack. During the skirmish Staff Sgt. Gazzara aided turret gunners while eliminating enemy threats.