Next month, a Washington Air National Guardsman will receive the nation's third highest military combat honor, the Silver Star, for putting himself in danger to direct an aerial attack in Afghanistan.

A Washington Air National Guardsman who last year in Afghanistan repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire to direct an aerial attack will receive a Silver Star.

Tech. Sgt. Tavis Delaney, whose actions are credited with saving the lives of more than 60 coalition forces, will receive the Silver Star at a May 6 ceremony at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. He serves with the 116th Air Support Observation Squadron and is the third state Guard member to receive the award in the post-9/11 era.

“We are incredibly proud of TSgt Delaney and the 116th. … Time after time, they have been the decisive difference on the battlefield, and TSgt Delaney is deserving of this high honor,” said Maj. Gen. Timothy. Lowenberg, the adjutant general and commander of the Washington National Guard, in a written statement.

The Silver Star is the nation’s third highest military combat decoration, and Delaney received his for his conduct as an airman deployed with ground troops to direct close air support on May 25, 2011. The troops were ambushed by an estimated 400 insurgent fighters in a steep canyon, and for more than eight hours Delaney risked his own life to direct air attacks that prevented the unit from being overrun.

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“Even though he was repeatedly encouraged to take cover like the rest of his unit, TSgt. Delaney willingly placed himself in mortal danger time and time again, understanding that in order to pinpoint the enemy positions … he had to remain in a position where he could see the enemy,” said a narrative written to accompany the award.

Hal Bernton: 206-464-2581