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2011 Air Commando

JEFFREY BUCKMELTER Colonel Jeffrey Buckmelter

distinguished himself throughout a challenging and brilliant career in Air Force Special Operations assignments. Several of the tactics, techniques and procedures that he personally developed during his time as special tactics officer, Commander of the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron, 24thSpecial Tactics Squadron and the 720th Special Tactics Group have had both operational and strategic impact on the special operations community. Demonstrating remarkable leadership he not only planned combat operations, but led his teams in daring combat operations. In this regard, then Lt Col Buckmelter was the senior controller on the ground during Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada. Parachuting in to Point Salinas from 500 feet above ground, he controlled the air operations for 36 hours until relieved. Grenada was just one of the many classified contingency operations that Col Buckmelter participated in response to terrorist actions during his remarkable career. Detailed to the CIA in 1999 for a unique 6 month covert operation found him deeply involved in the continent of Africa. Col Buckmelter’s outstanding leadership and vast experience in special tactics built an organization of battlefield airmen ready to respond to the call of 9/11 and the fight against violent extremist organizations in the 21st century. Among

his many decorations and awards is the Defense Superior Service Medal with 1 OLC, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal with “V” device, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal with 1 OLC, the Meritorious Service Medal as well as a Master Parachutist badge with over 850 military jumps. Col Buckmelter’s outstanding contributions reflect great credit upon himself, Air Force Special Operations and the United States Air Force.

RICHARD L. COMER Maj Gen Richard L. Comer distinguished himself through outstanding sustained performance as an Air Commando throughout his long and distinguished career. Several tactics, techniques and procedures he developed during his time as an Assistant Operations Officer, Operations Officer and Commander of the 20th Special Operations Squadron are still used by Air Commandos prosecuting the global war on terror in combat today. As the 20th SOS Squadron Commander, then Lt Col Comer teamed with Apache Helicopters from the United States Army and using the unique capabilities of the MH 53 PAVE LOW helicopter, led them across the Iraq border to destroy enemy radar sites and create a corridor for the ensuing air campaign that began OPERATION DESERT STORM. As a leader, Gen Comer is unsurpassed as he commanded at the Operations, Group and Wing levels and served as the Deputy C omma n d i n g General


Special Operations Command. After these demanding a s s i g n m e n t s Gen


was assigned as Deputy Assistant Secretary

of Defense for Policy 48 │ AIR COMMANDO JOURNAL │ Fall 2011

and Missions in the office for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict. Following that key assignment, Gen Comer was Vice-Commander of the Air Force Special Operations Command during the extremely critical period immediately after 9/11 where his vast experience was crucial to ensuring the right forces were deployed on time and with the right assets and mission skills to take the fight to Al Qaeda. Additionally, Gen Comer has served as a key mentor to many Air Commando flag officers today. The singularly distinguished accomplishments of Gen Comer have had far reaching and lasting impacts on Air Force Special Operations and reflect great credit upon himself, Air Force Special Operations and the United States Air Force.

RICHARD W. CRUTCHFIELD CMSgt Richard W. Crutchfield distinguished himself by exemplary performance throughout his twenty six years of outstanding service in the United States Air Force. Chief Crutchfield moved very quickly upward through every level of enlisted ranks seeking greater responsibilities and training opportunities. A former 720th Special Tactics Group Chief Enlisted Manager, he was directly responsible for worldwide organization, training and equipping Combat Control and Para rescue forces for augmentation and permanent manning for the Joint Special Operations Command. Chief Crutchfield has led his men on countless overt and covert combat and humanitarian missions throughout the world. Early in his career his exceptional leadership and combat experience was evident as he led his teammates in combat and training missions in Dominican Republic, Vietnam, Okinawa, Japan, Taiwan and the Republic of the Philippines. While earning several victories in Volant Rodeos competing against worldwide combat control units from both United States and friendly nations combat

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