A Constellation of Bronze Stars

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Air Force Col. Patrick Higby awards Horton the third of three Bronze Stars he earned on IED-hunting missions in Afghanistan / Air Force photo by Alex Lloyd

Here’s something you don’t see every day: a U.S. bomb-disposal expert getting three Bronze Stars pinned on for a single tour. It happened April 18 at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, where Master Sgt. Benjamin Horton collected the trio for his heroics as an explosive ordnance disposal team leader. The citations for the medals lauded Horton for his “courageous efforts outside the wire,” even when a blast killed a nearby British comrade and temporarily blinded Horton. Once he regained his vision, Horton calmly remained in command, kept fellow troops away from an IED-crammed alley, performed a post-blast analysis, and then directed his own rescue because of his wounds.