Philippines Civic Action Medals awarded to 6th SOS Airmen
By Jamie Haig, 16th SOW Public Affairs
/ Published July 14, 2006
HURLBURT FIELD, Fla -- Nineteen members of the 6th Special Operations Squadron received the Philippines Civic Action Medal June 5 at Mactan Benito Ebuen Air Base, Philippines from Philippine Air Force Brig. Gen. Michael Mendoza, 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing commander.
The 6th SOS was in the Philippines to train on the squadron's mission-essential task list and to train with selected units of the Philippine Air Force.
The 6th SOS is a combat aviation advisory unit and its mission is to assess, train, advise and assist foreign aviation forces in airpower employment, sustainment and force integration.
The surprise medals were awarded for their continuous community actions during several deployments to the nation.
"We were there on a training mission," said Master Sgt. Paul Chick, team sergeant. "After we finished presenting certificates to the folks we trained, the general started to read another citation and called us up individually."
The team members have gone into the community with the men and women from the 210th THW on previous missions to assist with civic visits.
"These guys know us personally," said Sergeant Chick. "We understand the culture, methodology and language, so it's rewarding to help them out."
Like previous visits, the 6th SOS members brought along items for the children of Biasong Elementary School in Balamban, Cebu. The school is located in a town approximately three-hour's drive time from the base, but only 20 minutes flying time in a helicopter.
"We brought school supplies, stuffed toys and stuff like that for the children," said Sergeant Chick.
This trip, they delivered eight computers for the school to enhance the children's teaching and learning capabilities.
When the 205th THW organized a free dental and medical clinic for the school children and staff, the 6th SOS assisted by transporting the members and supplies to the mountainous location. More than 1,400 people were helped by these actions.
"The wing was planning a civic visit, and we just tagged along," said Capt. Jonathan Leslie, deputy mission commander. "All of us work together, no matter the mission."
The 6th SOS has spent many years working with the military and doing community service while on the island.
"What we do builds a better relationship between Americans, the military and the children," said Sergeant Chick. "That's important."
"It was totally unexpected," said Captain Leslie. "But it shows the type of relationship we have with the Philippine government."