Maxwell defender receives Elizabeth N. Jacobson Award

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Francisco Melendez-Espinosa
  • Air University Public Affairs

Staff Sgt. Kerry McGuire, 42nd Security Forces Squadron non - commission officer in charge of Physical and Electronic Security, won the Airman 1st Class Elizabeth N. Jacobson Award for Expeditionary Excellence on November 6th, 2018.

The U.S. Air Force level award is given to Airmen for outstanding performance while deployed overseas.

Jacobson was killed in action during the Iraq War in 2005. A member of the U.S. Air Force Security Forces, she was the first female U.S. Airman killed in the line of duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the first Air Force security forces member killed in conflict since the Vietnam War.

“This award is security forces specific, it means a lot to us, to honor someone that made the ultimate sacrifice, it’s an in - house kind of thing so it makes it really special,” McGuire said.

McGuire said it was honor to earn the medal, however, he owes a lot to his team and wishes it was a team award.

He was deployed to an undisclosed location in Southeast Asia, where he secured 30 off-site patrol missions, evaluated a 48 kilometer base security zone, trained 54 augmentees and was the first on – scene during an accident.

“It’s an interesting dynamic, we worked not only with the host nation but joint nations as well, so Belgium, Germany, France, there was a lot of group effort there, he said: “Working on a multinational level can be tough, I did my best to just get the job done,”

During his deployment he worked on strengthening alliances working closely alongside Coalition Forces all while prioritizing the physical and emotional wellbeing of his fellow Airmen.

“I think part of the reason he got the award is because I’ve seen him take charge, he’s a go getter.” said his supervisor Tech. Sgt.  Robert Grahm, NCOIC of installation security. “He sees anything that could be a potential problem and goes right ahead and fixes it before it becomes a problem.”

Before Jacobson’s passing, her favorite quote reflects how she carried herself: “We’re only on earth for a little while, so live life to the fullest and carry a smile.”

Jacobson’s memory is kept alive through the daily efforts and sacrifices of our defenders, all while McGuire continues on with his daily duties, all while still carrying a smile.