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Navy awards ceremony honors military, civilians for bravery in NAS Pensacola shooting

PNJ.com (Pensacola) logo PNJ.com (Pensacola) 6/20/2020 From staff reports, Pensacola News Journal
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The Naval Education and Training Command conducted an awards ceremony Friday at Pensacola's National Naval Aviation Museum that recognized the bravery of service members and civilians involved in last year's shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola.

Three people were killed and eight others were injured when an aviation trainee from the Royal Saudi Air Force opened fire Dec. 6, 2019, at the base. The gunman was shot and killed by responding law enforcement.

On Friday, 12 civilians and service members from the Naval Aviation Schools Command and Marine Aviation Training Support Group 23 were recognized for their actions during the shooting, according to a news release from the Naval Education and Training Command.

The awards included the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, Purple Heart, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Department of the Navy Superior Civilian Medal for Valor and Department of the Navy Civilian Service Commendation Medal.

The awardees are:

Naval Aviation Schools Command

  • Ensign Blaine DaPra, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal
  • Ensign Breanna Thomas, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal/Purple Heart
  • Ensign Kristy Lehmer, Purple Heart
  • Naval Air Crewman (Helicopter) 2nd Class Carl Daniel, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal
  • Ronnie Moreno, Department of the Navy Superior Civilian Medal for Valor
  • Kevin Groff, Department of the Navy Superior Civilian Medal for Valor
  • Raven Smith, Department of the Navy Civilian Service Commendation Medal

Marine Aviation Training Support Group 23

  • Gunnery Sgt. Ryan Masel, Navy and Marine Corps Medal
  • Staff Sgt. Samuel Mullins, Navy and Marine Corps Medal
  • Staff Sgt. Andrew Pfannenstiel, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal
  • Staff Sgt. Andrew Fitzgerald, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal
  • Sgt. Kyle Armbruster, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal

Two service members, Marine Capt. Kyle Whitlock and Airman Apprentice Ryan Blackwell, were previously recognized in May during a private ceremony. Whitlock received the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, and Blackwell received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal and Purple Heart.

Airman Apprentice George Johnson and Jessica Pickett will receive their awards in separate ceremonies. Johnson, who transferred from the Naval Aviation Schools Command, will receive the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal and Purple Heart. Pickett, who was unable to attend the ceremony, will receive the Secretary of Defense Medal of Freedom Award.

The ceremony was closed to the public and media.

Vice Adm. John Nowell Jr., chief of naval personnel, provided opening remarks virtually from Washington, D.C. Rear Adm. Kyle Cozad, Naval Education and Training Command commander, presided over the ceremony, and Cmdr. Daniel Balsinger, Naval Aviation Schools Command executive officer, was the guest speaker.

a man and a woman walking down a street talking on a cell phone: 200619-N-LF437-002 (June 19, 2020) Ensign Breanna Thomas, left, a student at Naval Aviation Schools Command, received the Purple Heart and the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal during an awards ceremony held at the National Naval Aviation Museum. The ceremony recognized the bravery and selflessness of those service members and federal servants involved in the Dec. 6 shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola that left four dead, including the shooter, and eight injured. © U.S. Navy photo by Dustin Gautney 200619-N-LF437-002 (June 19, 2020) Ensign Breanna Thomas, left, a student at Naval Aviation Schools Command, received the Purple Heart and the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal during an awards ceremony held at the National Naval Aviation Museum. The ceremony recognized the bravery and selflessness of those service members and federal servants involved in the Dec. 6 shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola that left four dead, including the shooter, and eight injured.

This article originally appeared on Pensacola News Journal: Navy awards ceremony honors military, civilians for bravery in NAS Pensacola shooting

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