A well-known Air Force special tactics operator’s Air Force Cross was not upgraded to a Medal of Honor during a recent military-wide review of valor awards. But that doesn’t bother him, and he said the focus should be on another airman who is still slotted for an upgrade to the Medal of Honor — the nation’s highest award for valor.
“I’m more thankful, actually, to be alive,” Master Sgt. Robert Gutierrez, an Air Force combat controller, told reporters at the Pentagon Wednesday during an Air Force special operations panel. “Awards are awards, which is fine, but what I value more is serving my country.”
Gutierrez received the Air Force Cross, which is second only to the Medal of Honor, for his actions supporting an Army Special Forces and Afghan commando team in Herat province, Afghanistan, on Oct. 5, 2009.