Surgical Team Honored for Duty in Combat Zone

May 6, 2012 Updated May 6, 2012 at 7:11 PM EDT

By Ed Reilly

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May 6, 2012 Updated May 6, 2012 at 7:11 PM EDT

(Niagara Falls NY) After spending one year in Eastern Afghanistan, members of the 1982nd Medical Detachment Forward Surgical Team received awards during a special ceremony at the U.S Army Reserve Center located inside the Niagara Falls Air Base.

The following is a release issued by the 1982nd:

Members of the 1982nd Forward Surgical Team United States Army Reserve will be awarded their End of Tour Awards Sunday, May 6th at a ceremony to be held at Niagara Falls Air Force Base. Five Bronze Stars, ten Army Commendation Medals, and fifteen Combat Action Badges, NATO Awards and Afghan Campaign Medals will be awarded for their service during Operation Enduring Freedom.

The awards will be presented at 1:30 pm, by Colonel Tracy Smith, Hospital Commander of the 865th Combat Support Hospital.

Bronze Star Medal awardees include Commander, Colonel Kurt Vonfricken (Cardio Thoracic Surgeon) Elma, NY; Detachment Sergeant, Sergeant First Class David Shenk (Erie County Comptroller) Boston, NY; Executive Officer, Captain Terence Ruh (Erie 1 BOCES Vice Principal) Amherst, NY; Captain Bryan Hall (RN at Buffalo Veterans Hospital) Lewiston, NY; Captain Timothy Giglio (RN at Buffalo General Hospital) Depew, NY.

Army Commendation Medal awardees include Captain Joseph Pulvino (Registered Nurse (RN) at Buffalo General Hospital) Buffalo, NY; Staff Sergeant Paul Newton (Lineman at General Mills) Eden, NY; Sergeant Andrew Laplante (Student) Tonawanda, NY; Sergeant Ashley Richards (Operating Room Technician) Niagara, NY; Specialist Matthew Laplante, Tonawanda, NY; Specialist Christopher Finnegan (Student) Cheektowaga, NY; Specialist Joshua Donovan (Licensed Practicing Nurse (LPN) Buffalo Veterans Hospital) Depew, NY; Specialist Christopher Davenport (LPN at a local Retirement Facility) Groveland, NY.

Army Commendation Medal awardees that could not be in attendance include Sergeant Joseph West (Operating Room Technician) Charlotte, North Carolina and Specialist Adella Carter (LPN) of Fort Bragg, North Carolina both formerly of Western New York.

The team returned home in November from a twelve month deployment to the Eastern region of Afghanistan. For most of the team this was their first deployment. Some of the senior members this was their second or third deployment.

The Bronze Star is a U.S. Armed Forces Individual military decoration and the country's fourth highest award and was awarded for meritorious service. The Army Commendation Medal is a U.S. Army Medal Individual military decoration and presented for sustained acts of meritorious service. The team will also be awarded the Combat Action Badge, NATO Medal, and Afghan Campaign Medal. The Combat Action Badge is awarded for performing duties in an area while being engaged by the enemy. The NATO Medal is an international military decoration which is awarded to various militaries of the world under the authority of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The Afghan Campaign Medal is awarded to a member of the U.S. military who has performed their duty within the borders of Afghanistan for a period of thirty or more consecutive days.