By Kelly Humphrey | 315-4443 | @Kellyhnwfdn | [email protected]
HURLBURT FIELD — In his 30 years in the military, Col. Tom Palenske had never seen anyone receive the prestigious Airman’s Medal, the highest medal awarded to a member of the Air Force who distinguishes himself by a heroic act outside of combat.
However, on Friday morning Palenske, the commander of the 1st Special Operations Wing, presented the medal to one of his own: Senior Airman Justin Barabash of the 1st Special Operations Support Squadron.
“I want to start off by saying what a big deal this is,” Palenske told the crowd gathered for the event. “As far as I’m concerned, this medal is as prestigious as the Medal of Honor for an act that is performed outside of combat.”
Barabash’s heroics began on what started out as a typical evening.
He and his wife, Elizabeth, have a …