By Rebecca Frankel
Best Defense Chief Canine Correspondent
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. and MWD handler, Christopher Keilman, was awarded the Bronze Star Medal July 31 in correlation with his deployment to Afghanistan with U.S. Army special forces from 2010 to 2011. I met Keilman when I was in Yuma last March and spoke with him about his tour -- he and his dog were outside the wire everyday:
..."Keilman conducted over 100 combat operations to capture, kill and disrupt Taliban and anti-Afghan forces throughout the Panjwayi District of Kandahar Province." He was responsible for ensuring all dismounted routes the detachment utilized were swept for mines and improvised explosive devices, which led to the discovery and destruction of 24 IEDs.
Before Keilman returned home from his deployment to Afghanistan with U.S. Army special forces, he heard rumors he was being put up for a bronze star.
'Being an E-5, I wasn't too hung up on it and I didn't put too much thought into it,' he said. 'The recognition of someone saying 'thank you' is good enough for me. I don't need a pat on the back to do my job; it's my job.'"
Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008.