If asked to name, without a shred of evidence or data for backup, three groups of American combatants that have caused the most mayhem and chaos in Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, these would be my guess: Apache helicopter pilot/gunners, AC-130 gunners, and Air Force Combat Controllers.  (Drone Operators… NO.)

Please read this Air Force Times article about two of the latter, Combat Controllers Technical Sergeant Ismael Villegas and Staff Sergeant Dale Young, and the awards they earned.

With his second Silver Star, TSgt Villegas joins that rare group of heroes with TWO of the 3 highest awards for valor in the global war on terror.  He is the second Airman to achieve this, following in the footsteps of fellow Combat Controller Sean Harvell. Outstanding job, TSgt Villegas… FIRST THERE!- BK

From the article: TSgt Villegas:

During a battle early in the mission, a friendly element was pinned down by hostile fire. Villegas ran toward the troops to get a sight on the insurgent’s position. While completely exposed to the small arms fire, Villegas coordinated with an overhead remotely piloted aircraft and fixed-wing air support to drop 14,000 pounds of bombs.

In another instance, Villegas volunteered for a patrol to explore the area, and his team came under enemy fire. The group was inside a structure, stacked up on a door, when an RPG hit. Shrapnel shredded the wall in front of them and hit a Green Beret soldier next to him.

“I heard the screams, so I grabbed him, pulled him back and began directing air support in the area,” he said.

Villegas moved between his team and the enemy, providing additional cover fire and controlled close air support within 60 meters of him to stop the onslaught and help the patrol fight their way over the kill zone.