ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
Master Sgt. Mathue Snow, 78th Security Forces Squadron flight chief, received a Bronze Star Medal during a ceremony held at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, Sept. 9, 2022.
“I’m honored and humbled to have my family here and grateful to have all the support of the Defenders here,” said Snow. “This was a team effort, and I share this with all of them who were there with me. We made it out all together and I couldn’t have done it without them.”
The Bronze Star is awarded to any member of the U.S. military for heroic or meritorious achievement or service, not involving participation in aerial flight, in connection with military operations against an armed enemy.
Snow received the medal for his quick response and bravery when members of a terrorist group attacked the Manda Bay Airfield, Kenya. The airfield is utilized by U.S. forces to provide training and counter-terrorism support to East African partners and protect U.S. interests.
Col. Lindsay Droz, 78th Air Base Wing commander, presented the award to the Airman who is heading into his 23rd year of active-duty service.
“This is a combat decoration and we are honored to have this presentation,” said Droz. “This is an outstanding Airman and Defender. He put his troops above himself. This is an opportunity to recognize an outstanding accomplishment for a selfless individual.”
Master Sgt. Levi Hupp, 78th SFS noncommissioned officer in charge of operations, read the citation which accompanied the award.
“Master Sgt. Snow distinguished himself by meritorious achievement as Security Forces flight chief, 475th Expeditionary Air Base Squadron, 449th Air Expeditionary Group, 435th Air Expeditionary Wing, while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force at Cooperative Security Location, Manda Bay, Republic of Kenya,” said Hupp.
“From Oct. 13, 2019 to May 25, 2020, during this period while in support of Operation Octave Shield, Sgt. Snow led 40 personnel and managed 1,250 random antiterrorism measures and 163 unmanned aircraft sorties,” Hupp continued. “Sgt. Snow bravely defended Magogoni Airfield and Camp Simba against a complex attack conducted by 30 Al-Shabaab terrorists equipped with rocket propelled grenades, mortars, and small arms.”
During the initial moments of the attack, Snow rushed to the Joint Defense Operations Center, sounded the giant voice system, and quickly dispatched Defenders to their defense towers. Those Defenders protected 367 joint personnel and secured $680 million dollars in assets.
Snow’s wife, Marlene, recounted getting the terrifying news from her husband.
“I got a phone call in the early morning. I was asleep,” she said. “He called, said we are under attack and I love you. After that, I was in shock, not knowing where he was or what was going on. As often as he could, he tried to communicate. I’m just thankful he made it back home.”
The citation also stated, While conducting a reconnaissance assessment on the exposed terrain, Sgt. Snow and his team came under attack from enemy small arms fire along the airfield's perimeter. He executed a tactical retrograde and escorted medical and airfield damage assessment teams to safety. Moreover, without regard to his own personal safety, Sgt. Snow further exposed himself to grave danger when he led multiple outside-the-wire convoys between the airfield and Camp Simba. His actions provided logistical resupply of vehicles, equipment and personnel, and enabled the removal of debris and aircraft wreckage from the runway.
One American Soldier and two Department of Defense civilian contractors lost their lives, and six U.S. aircraft and one Kenyan aircraft were destroyed.
Through Snow’s efforts, the airfield returned to mission capable status within two hours of the attack. This action allowed for the evacuation of casualties and the arrival of reinforcement personnel.
“The exemplary leadership, personal endeavor, and devotion to duty displayed by Sgt. Snow in this responsible position reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force,” said Hupp.
Snow is also the father of two children. He joined Team Robins in August 2022.