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Creech Airman saves Canadian lives, awarded medal at Vandenberg

Lt. Gen.Tom Lawson, North American Aerospace Defense Command deputy commander, awarded Scott Knight, a former senior mission intelligence coordinator at the 42nd Attack Squadron at Creech Air Force Base, Nev., the Chief of Defense Staff Commendation medal on behalf of Gen. Walter Natynczyk, Chief of Defense Staff of the Canadian forces, July 18 at the Pacific Coast Club here, for actions that resulted in saving Canadian lives during a deployment to Kandahar, Afghanistan in 2008. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Michael Peterson)

Lt. Gen.Tom Lawson, North American Aerospace Defense Command deputy commander, awarded Scott Knight, a former senior mission intelligence coordinator at the 42nd Attack Squadron at Creech Air Force Base, Nev., the Chief of Defense Staff Commendation medal on behalf of Gen. Walter Natynczyk, Chief of Defense Staff of the Canadian forces, July 18 at the Pacific Coast Club here, for actions that resulted in saving Canadian lives during a deployment to Kandahar, Afghanistan in 2008. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Michael Peterson)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- A former Air Force staff sergeant was ceremoniously awarded a Canadian medal by the deputy commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command in the Pacific Coast Club here July 18.

Lt. Gen. Tom Lawson, North American Aerospace Defense Command deputy commander, awarded Scott Knight, a former senior mission intelligence coordinator at the 42nd Attack Squadron at Creech AFB, Nev., the Chief of Defense Staff Commendation medal on behalf of Gen. Walter Natynczyk, Chief of Defense Staff of the Canadian forces, for actions that resulted in saving Canadian lives during a deployment to Kandahar, Afghanistan in 2008.

According to the award citation, during several incidents involving troops in contact during his deployment, Knight provided fire support that saved Canadian lives. However, there is much more to the story that may never be heard.

"Even as I read the medal's very carefully developed script, it is going to leave out a lot of information that can't be shared with us today," Lawson said. "So, the Chief of Defense Staff said on an unclassified phone to just, 'let Scott know that for everything he did that was not included in this citation, we thank him."'

Airmen are commonly deployed to work side by side with military personnel from other nations. Some believe the relationships fostered because of this inter-operational capability directly result in saved lives.

"We have, as nations, been battle buddies in wars that date back 100 years," Lawson said. "Through many conflicts we have been each other's strongest ally and, most recently in the past 10 years, we have been engaged very directly in inter-operational campaigns in Afghanistan. In doing that, we have now created a generation of young Canadian and American officers and non-commissioned officers who are going to serve us very well for their entire careers, remembering how closely we were integrated with our American and Canadian buddies. There are American lives and Canadian lives that were saved as a result of those inter-operational capabilities."

According to the Canadian Chief of Defense Staff, that joint functional war-fighting synergy is what allowed mission success during Knight's deployment to Afghanistan.

"What is not included in the script is that lives were saved, operations became successful and the awareness of where we could go after these operations were all heavily supported by the direct actions of the staff sergeant I have beside me here," Lawson said.

As Knight accepted the medal, he thanked his Canadian counterparts.


"I'm honored to have been nominated for this award and even more honored to receive it."