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Vandenberg Airman comes home wounded

BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq -- Airman 1st Class Michael Brady, 732nd Air Expeditionary Group combat cameraman, is thanked for his service by Chief Master Sgt. Paul Wheeler, 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing command chief, at the Air Force Theater Hospital here Oct. 14. Airman Brady was augmenting the Army in a non-traditional "in-lieu-of" tasking when he was wounded by sniper fire while on patrol in Ad Diwaniyah, Iraq. He is deployed from the 30th Space Communications Squadron, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. John Nimmo, Sr.)

BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq -- Airman 1st Class Michael Brady, 732nd Air Expeditionary Group combat cameraman, is thanked for his service by Chief Master Sgt. Paul Wheeler, 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing command chief, at the Air Force Theater Hospital here Oct. 14. Airman Brady was augmenting the Army in a non-traditional "in-lieu-of" tasking when he was wounded by sniper fire while on patrol in Ad Diwaniyah, Iraq. He is deployed from the 30th Space Communications Squadron, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. John Nimmo, Sr.)

BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq -- Airman 1st Class Michael Brady, 732nd Air Expeditionary Group combat cameraman, sips water while being assessed upon arrival at the Air Force Theater Hospital here Oct 14. Airman Brady was transferred from the 28th Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad.  He was augmenting the Army in a non-traditional "in-lieu-of" tasking when he was wounded by sniper fire while on patrol in Ad Diwaniyah, Iraq. He is deployed from the 30th Space Communications Squadron, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. John Nimmo, Sr.)

BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq -- Airman 1st Class Michael Brady, 732nd Air Expeditionary Group combat cameraman, sips water while being assessed upon arrival at the Air Force Theater Hospital here Oct 14. Airman Brady was transferred from the 28th Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad. He was augmenting the Army in a non-traditional "in-lieu-of" tasking when he was wounded by sniper fire while on patrol in Ad Diwaniyah, Iraq. He is deployed from the 30th Space Communications Squadron, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. John Nimmo, Sr.)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Airman 1st Class Michael Brady, a combat cameraman from the 30th Space Wing, Vandenberg AFB, Calif., received the Purple Heart and the Iraqi Campaign Medal from Brig. Gen. Burt Field, the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing commander, at the Air Force Theater Hospital here Oct. 14.

Airman Brady, who deployed to the 732nd Air Expeditionary Group, Balad Air Base, Iraq, was performing an "in-lieu-of" tasking for the Army by providing visual information support for soldiers when he was wounded in the neck by enemy fire near Ad Diwaniyah, Iraq, Oct. 12.

Airman Brady received initial treatment at the 28th Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad. Despite the severity of his injury, doctors at the AFTH said Airman Brady will likely recover the ability to speak.

"They told me in Baghdad that this was a million dollar wound (like in Forrest Gump)," he wrote in a letter to his family in the company of his fellow Airmen after receiving the medals.

Airman Brady is currently being moved to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

"Sending a wounded warrior home is one of the most emotional parts of our job," said Colonel Bosworth. "And we're very thankful and blessed that Michael is going to go home to recover. Sending him home to his family is a very good thing."

The 30th Space Wing has more than 200 Airmen deployed throughout the world with 60 percent of Vandenberg's Airmen performing "in-lieu-of" taskings. These Airmen fill a variety of non-traditional combat and combat support missions to augment the Army.

"All of our Airmen are working to support the Global War on Terrorism. Our job at home station is to make sure they have the training they need before they depart and, just as importantly, we take care of their families while they are away," said Col. Steve Tanous, 30th Space Wing commander. "We were relieved to receive word that Mike would be transferred back to the U.S. and was recovering from his wound.

"When someone from Vandenberg is injured, it affects everyone on the base because we're a family," Colonel Tanous added. "Everyone pulls together to support the family and the unit. This incident reminds us all of the sacrifices we must sometimes make to support our mission and that we are still fighting a war against terrorism."