An Air Force pararescueman was awarded a Bronze Star with valor this week, following several surgeries and months of efforts to get back on duty after being seriously wounded in Afghanistan last year.
Shrapnel from a grenade blast ripped into Staff Sgt. Aaron Metzger’s right arm and chest while he treated two severely injured Afghan commandos he had carried out of the line of fire during a nighttime raid against the Taliban in April 2018.
The airman put a tourniquet on his own arm, helped one of the wounded Afghans into cover in a sheep shed and readied to fight with all he had left. Then a Green Beret showed up and Metzger calmly talked him through treating his wounds.
“When he found me, I felt a sense of relief,” Metzger said last year, several months after the mission. “I had my guard up this whole time because I was prepared to fight until the end.”