MARTINSBURG — Capt. Christopher T. Tusing has four tours of duty under his belt, enough to make you think his fifth and most recent six-month deployment to Afghanistan would be a relatively routine one.
Tusing, of Berkeley Springs, and the installation deployment officer for the 167th Airlift Wing, found his latest deployment to be a very personal one that provided a renewed connection to his great-grandfather, who also donned a uniform in service to his country.
While there, he was awarded with a Bronze Star Medal for accomplishing his mission above and beyond the call of duty, which included instructing members of Afghanistan’s army and police on how to manage the logistics critical in helping to rebuild that war-torn nation.
Tusing said being pinned with the prestigious medal by his overseas commander, Col. Arthur G. Weeks III, came as a complete shock for the young officer and has been a milestone in his 20-year military career.
But he shared the moment with very few back home until now.
“I am very humbled by it,” he said of earning the same award his great-grandfather was given in World War II.
Staff Sgt. Thomas J. Waters, a medic with the storied 1st Armored Division, earned his Bronze Star Medal for service while deployed to the South Pacific during World War II.
“He never spoke about it, not a word,” Tusing said, adding he made the discovery only a few years after his grandfather had passed away. “I discovered it just after I returned from (Basic Military Training) going through all of his old military things. I had always regretted not being able to discuss it with him until now. I guess in my own small way, now I understand his silence and why I’ve attempted the same.”
Assigned to the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan and Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan, Tusing’s job to was provide oversight of more than $6.4 billion of inventory. According to the official citation that accompanied his medal, Tusing orchestrated more than 70 combat convoy missions for Afghan trainers to provide instruction to over 700 logisticians.
Tusing said being honored with the Bronze Star Medal ranks right up there with the satisfaction he had in helping deliver much-needed clothes and school supplies to the country’s poorest citizens via Operation Outreach Afghanistan, a volunteer service organization reportedly designed to help provide humanitarian aid to the Afghan people living in the Kabul Province. The donated items were collected by members of the Wing and sent to Tusing who ensured it was delivered. For his efforts, Tusing was awarded the Military Outstanding Volunteer Medal.
Along with the Bronze Star Medal and volunteer medal, Tusing was awarded the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, NATO Medal and Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon.
— Staff Sgt. Sherree Grebenstein is the public affairs officer with the 167th Airlift Wing of the West Virginia Air National Guard.