From right, U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Johnnie Yellock, a combat controller with the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron, salutes Lt. Col. Chris Larkin, 23rd Special Tactics Squadron commander, at Hurlburt Field, Fla, June 26, 2012 during Yellock’s Bronze Star Medal presentation. Yellock received the Bronze Star for his deployment to Afghanistan in 2011 – a deployment in which he was significantly wounded by an Improvised Explosive Device.

While out on a mission in Afghanistan, Yellock was riding in the exposed gunner’s position of a mine resistant, ambush protected vehicle when it struck an IED, destroying the vehicle and wounding him seriously. Thrown clear of the wreckage, his injuries were severe, including two badly shattered feet and a wound to his heel that would not stop bleeding. Reacting instinctively, he applied two tourniquets to his left leg and assisted the team medic in applying a third to his right leg. Despite his wound, Yellock went on to instruct the team leader how to select and mark a helicopter landing zone, advising him how to properly control the inbound aircraft.