EOD Airman receives fourth Bronze Star

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Charles V. Rivezzo
  • 7th Bomb Wing
Master Sgt. Brandon Livingston, 7th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal flight superintendent, was awarded his fourth Bronze Star Medal during a ceremony at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, March 23.

Livingston distinguished himself with exceptional meritorious service as the operations NCO in-charge, while deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from May 2011 through November 2011.

He directly oversaw EOD operations supporting the U.S. Marine Corps 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion's route clearance patrols and International Security Assistance Force United Kingdom counter improvised explosive device division.

Additionally, he coordinated the execution of more than 275 combat operations and the clearance of approximately 70 improvised explosive devices across the Helmand Province of Afghanistan.

"It's always an honor to receive this award, but what we do isn't for awards, it's just business as usual," Livingston said.

The EOD career field is one of the most dangerous jobs in the war fighting environment today. IEDs are the No. 1 threat to coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, accounting for 7,800 deaths and casualties in 2010 alone, according to USA Today.

"We have lost 20 Airmen in EOD, roughly 25 percent for Air Force casualties since 9/11 started, I've lost a lot of friends," Livingston said. "When we lose one person it doesn't just affect the flight downrange or the flight there from, it affects the entire career field. We are tight, we're family."

Tasked with identifying and neutralizing IEDs in deployed locations, EOD technicians are continuously put into harm's way. With so many lives in their hands, the Airmen who make up this elite unit must operate with the utmost commitment to the mission.

"We have the upmost pride for our job, our badge means everything, but we also humble ourselves because it's not just us going out there and doing the mission," Livingston said. It's the support of everybody that gets the mission accomplished."

With nearly 20 years of service, Livingston's resume boasts many experiences and accomplishments. However, his most memorable moment isn't one of defusing ordnances or foot patrols in austere environments, but being a mentor to his younger Airmen.

"Becoming an EOD superintendent of a flight is the highlight of my career," he said. "As an Airman coming in, I never thought I would be where I am today. It's nice to take the knowledge and experience that I've learned over the years and pass it along to the younger guys while watching them grow up."