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Bronze Star awarded to Holm Center captain for meritorious service

Brig. Gen. Teresa Djuric, Jeanne M. Holm Center commander presented Capt. Kenneth O. McGrew, Holm Center executive officer, the Bronze Star July 24 for exceptional leadership while deployed as an intelligence officer in Afghanistan from November 2008 to July 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo/Melanie Rodgers Cox)

Brig. Gen. Teresa Djuric, the Jeanne M. Holm Center for Officer Accessions and Citizen Development commander presented Capt. Kenneth O. McGrew, Holm Center executive officer, the Bronze Star July 24 for his exceptional leadership while deployed as an intelligence officer to Afghanistan from November 2008 to July 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo/Melanie Rodgers Cox)

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- The executive officer to the commander of the Jeanne M. Holm Center for Officer Accessions and Citizen Development was awarded the Bronze Star July 24 for his exceptional leadership enabling development and governance while deployed to Afghanistan. 

Capt. Kenneth O. McGrew was assigned as an intelligence officer to the Kapisa and Parwan Intelligence Support Team (S2) of the Kapisa and Parwan Provincial Reconstruction Team from November 2008 to July 2009. 

As written in the award citation, "Captain McGrew's personal courage and commitment to mission accomplishment in a combat zone, under the most extreme of circumstances, greatly contributed to the success of Operation Enduring Freedom." 

Feeling the award was completely unexpected, but honored to be a Bronze Star recipient, Captain McGrew shared, "the support of family and the home unit is invaluable for Airmen productivity while deployed and I am grateful for both." 

The Bronze Star was authorized in 1944 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and is the fourth-highest combat honor awarded to personnel in all branches of military service. Recipients are recognized for heroic or meritorious achievement or service while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States. 

As an S-2 and gunner on more than 50 outside the wire combat patrols, Captain McGrew provided the first-line of defense with critical information. The patrol teams consisted of approximately 20 to 28 people. 

"We conducted missions outside the wire for quality assessments/checks of various projects - buildings, roads, wells and mosques," the Houston, Texas, native said. "We conducted meetings with government officials (Key Leader Engagements) in order to enhance their governance." 

Captain McGrew also produced more than 200 intelligence summaries, or INTSUM, published in the task force commander's Graphic Intelligence Summary, or GRINTSUM. The summaries, reports containing intelligence information received during missions, were required to be reported to higher headquarters, the captain explained. 

"On average I spent one to three hours per day drafting and forwarding a report," he said. 

The captain was lauded by the PRT commander for dedicating more than 1,600 hours to the preparation and delivery of 300 intelligence mission briefs, 275 convoy briefs and 290 debriefs. 

"The briefings provided current intelligence threats within the general area of the mission location and were primary for the commander to determine whether a mission would be approved," the captain said. 

When reflecting on his deployment, Captain McGrew shared his feelings about the role of Airmen while deployed. 

"As an Airman, I was deployed to support the PRT as an intelligence officer and believe the deployment is one of the best an Airman can be assigned to for several reasons: the experience of conducting key leader engagements outside the wire, the experience of working with our sister services and the interaction with Afghanistan government personnel, contractors and citizens," he said. "It's a firsthand view at nonkinetic operations." 

He also added a word on the steady presence of the Air Force in support of contingency operations worldwide. 

"Airmen are heavily involved in the fight in various jobs - not just as pilots." 

Captain McGrew is currently attending Squadron Officer School here and is scheduled to report to the National Security Agency, Fort Meade, Md., in September.