Combat photographer receives Bronze Star with Valor

Col. Eaton shakes hands with SMSgt. Wallace.

Col. Casey D. Eaton, left, 89th Airlift Wing commander, awards Senior Master Sgt. Kevin Wallace, 89th AW public affairs chief, with a Bronze Star with Valor medal at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Aug. 15, 2017. Wallace was awarded the medal for his distinguished heroism on April 4, 2011, as a 4th Infantry Division combat photographer. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez)

Group photo

Senior Master Sgt. Kevin Wallace, center, 89th Airlift Wing public affairs chief, and his family, friends and colleague pose for a group photo during an awards ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Aug. 15, 2017. Wallace was awarded a Bronze Star with Valor for his distinguished heroism on April 4, 2011, as a 4th Infantry Division combat photographer. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez)

Bronze Star with Valor pin

Senior Master Sgt. Kevin Wallace, 89th Airlift Wing public affairs chief, has a Bronze Star with Valor pinned on his service jacket during an awards ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Aug. 15, 2017. Wallace, then a 4th Infantry Division combat photographer, was awarded the medal for his distinguished heroism on April 4, 2011. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez)

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- Senior Master Sgt. Kevin Wallace, 89th Airlift Wing public affairs chief, was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Valor, the fourth highest military decoration signifying heroism, on August 15, 2017 at Joint Base Andrews.

When receiving the medal, Wallace reflected on his team’s efforts in combat 6 years ago.

While deployed in 2011, Wallace, then a 4th Infantry Division combat photographer, and his team were performing night patrols through the Kobali and Kamusari villages, upon their return from the village they were detected by enemy forces and ambushed in the Badghis province of Afghanistan.

Over the next several hours, Wallace alternated between engaging the enemy and visually capturing the actions of his teammates with his camera. He successfully documented the battle, taking more than 400 photographs to be used for operational analysis, battle assessment, collateral intelligence, information operations, historical records of Air Force and joint operations, public affairs and other needs.


“Eleven men were out there and 11 men were heroes,” Wallace said. “There were men on the outpost providing overwatch who were heroes. Men on the quick-reaction force providing cover fire during our exfiltration were heroes. I don’t think anyone out there was less than a hero that day.”

Because of his combat experience, Wallace has taken part in the Air Force’s Invisible Wounds Initiative as a spokesperson, helping Airmen and their families cope with post-traumatic stress by developing an environment of understanding and trust among Airmen, families, peers and leadership.

"We owe it to Airmen and their families to support them during and after any injury, including invisible wounds,” said Maj. Gen. Kimberly Crider, mobilization assistant to the Under Secretary of the Air Force. “Whether they are returned to duty or transitioning out of the Air Force, these Airmen have earned the support and respect of their peers and leadership for as long as [recovery] takes."

Although, this one combat experience is over for Wallace, he continues to combat his invisible wounds and assist others to overcome their personal battles.

“I'm honored to be able to help [the IWI] spread the word so others may hopefully learn from my mistakes and keep their weapon systems clean so that they continue to fire true for years to come,” Wallace said.
USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.