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MCAS New River Marine receives Bronze Star for heroic actions during Kabul airport evacuation

Bronze Star.jpg
(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Antonino Mazzamuto)
U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Robert D. Barbaree III, left, commanding officer of Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, Marine Corps Air Station New River, pins the Bronze Star Medal onto Master Sgt. Kevin Haunschild, right, a senior air traffic controller with H&HS, MCAS New River. Haunschild received the Bronze Star medal for his actions during Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

A Marine stationed at MCAS New River has received a Bronze Star for heroic actions in Afghanistan.

Master Sgt. Kevin Haunschild supported the evacuation operation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan in August of 2021, and contributed to the evacuation of military personnel and 144,000 civilians.

Master Sgt Kevin Haunschild.jpg
(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Antonino Mazzamuto)
Officials say Sgt. Kevin Haunschild ran onto the runway under enemy fire to remove an obstruction, allowing the evacuation flights to continue.

Sgt. Haunschild ran onto the runway under enemy fire to remove an obstruction, allowing the evacuation flights to continue. Officials say an Afghan Cessna with a blown tire had to abort its takeoff, which obstructed the airport's runway.

"A Marine, two Army Special Operation soldiers, and I jumped into a pickup truck while Afghans were running out of the aircraft back into the hangar," said Haunschild. "We managed to attach ratchet straps to the aircraft and tow it off of the runway."

Haunschild also went outside the wire to recover radio equipment from a stranded Afghan air traffic controller and as he was returning Haunschild started receiving enemy small arms fire. Still, he arrived safely with the critical radio equipment.

Annette is originally a Midwest gal, born and raised in Michigan, but with career stops in many surrounding states, the Pacific Northwest, and various parts of the southeast. She has been involved in the media industry in eastern North Carolina for more than three years. An award-winning journalist and mother of four, Annette moved to ENC to be closer to family – in particular, her two young grandchildren. It’s possible that a -27 day with a -68 windchill in Minnesota may have also played a role in that decision. In her spare time, Annette does a lot of toddler and baby cuddling, reading, designing costumes for children’s theater and producing the coolest Halloween costumes anyone has ever seen. She has also worked as a diversity and inclusion facilitator serving school districts and large corporations. It’s the people that make this beautiful area special, and she wants to share those stories that touch the hearts of others. If you have a story idea to share, please reach out by email to westona@cravencc.edu.