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Retired chief master sergeant earns Bronze Star

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Retired Chief Master Sgt. Edward Colquhoun gives a speech after he received the Bronze Star Medal here March 3. The Bronze Star Medal is awarded for acts of bravery, merit and meritorious service.(U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Lee)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Ret. Chief Master Sgt. Edward Colquhoun gives a speech after he received the Bronze Star Medal here March 3. The Bronze Star Medal is awarded for acts of bravery, merit and meritorious service.(U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Lee)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Retired Chief Master Sgt. Edward Colquhoun received the Bronze Star Medal here March 3. The Bronze Star Medal is awarded for acts of bravery, merit and meritorious service. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Lee)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Ret. Chief Master Sgt. Edward Colquhoun received the Bronze Star Medal here March 3. The Bronze Star Medal is awarded for acts of bravery, merit and meritorious service. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Lee)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Retired Chief Master Sgt. Edward Colquhoun receives the Bronze Star Medal from Lt. Col. Suzanne Streeter, 18th Intelligence Squadron commander, here March 3. The Bronze Star Medal is awarded for acts of bravery, merit and meritorious service.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Lee)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Ret. Chief Master Sgt. Edward Colquhoun receives the Bronze Star Medal from Lt. Col. Suzanne Streeter, 18th Intelligence Squadron commander, here March 3. The Bronze Star Medal is awarded for acts of bravery, merit and meritorious service. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Lee)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- A retired chief master sergeant from the 18th Intelligence Squadron here was presented the Bronze Star Medal in a ceremony held at the Vandenberg Center March 3. 

Mr. Edward Colquhoun Jr. was awarded the Bronze Star for his meritorious achievement in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom during his 2008 deployment to Joint Base Balad, Iraq. Lt. Col. Suzanne Streeter, 18th IS commander, presented the medal. 

While deployed, Chief Master Sgt. Colquhoun served as the chief enlisted manager of the 732nd Expeditionary Intelligence Squadron, 732nd Air Expeditionary Group and the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing.

 "During the deployment, I was responsible for the Airmen that the Air Force had serving as Joint Expeditionary Airmen, filling in for Army tasking," said Mr. Colquhoun, 18th IS program security manager. "Our Airmen were out there as requested by the Army to do a specific mission, and I was there to make sure that they were being taken care of. I just did what the Air Force had asked of me, and kept an eye for our Airmen to make sure they were being properly utilized." 

The 30-year veteran and Russian linguist retired at Vandenberg in February this year. 

As noted in Mr. Colquhoun's citation accompanying the Bronze Star Medal, "Chief Colquhoun's superior leadership inspired over 350 deployed Airmen, assigned to 26 locations, and delivered unparallel support to Joint and Coalition forces as a part of the United States Air Force's most diverse intelligence unit in Iraq." 

As if being the superintendant for 350-plus Airmen was not hard enough, Mr. Colquhoun did his mission under the stresses of fire attacks and improvised explosive devices over the course of his travels in Iraq. He traveled around the country to ensure the health and welfare of his Airmen and made sure they were organized, trained and well equipped to successfully fill the roles needed by the joint forces. 

"I loved the mission of that deployment, it was the best mission I encountered in my entire 30 years in the Air Force," Mr. Colquhoun said. "I never thought I would be flying in a Blackhawk helicopter 300 ft. above the hostile grounds of Iraq, but if I had to do it over again, I would do it in a second. It was probably the best way to end my career."

The deployment made Mr. Colquhoun realize that job satisfaction does not come from receiving awards and medals, but rather the satisfaction comes from helping others.

"Receiving the Bronze Star was a nice way of culminating my career, but the real satisfaction comes whenever I receive e-mails from the Airmen I was deployed with," Mr. Colquhoun said. "I still get e-mails from the Airmen asking me for advice and congratulating me on my retirement. That really means a lot to me." 

Mr. Colquhoun says, referring to Airmen, that he has left the Air Force in good hands. He talks very optimistic about the direction the Air Force is heading and the Airmen who make the Air Force what it is today. 

"For the Airmen who have not already deployed, when the window of opportunity presents itself, step up and take it," Mr. Colquhoun said. "There is no greater satisfaction then doing what needs to be done overseas on a deployment. The opportunities you choose to take will in turn, make you a better leader." 

Mr. Colquhoun gratefully accepted the opportunities the Air Force presented him over his career. As a result he is now a part of an elite group of Airmen who have earned the right to the Bronze Star.