HILL AIR FORCE BASE — The Airman’s Medal for a heroic act outside a combat situation was awarded to Master Sgt. Gregory Bartel, specialist flight chief for the 419th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, here today.
On the morning of June 16, 2013, Bartel and his family were attending worship services at St. James the Just Catholic Parish in Ogden, Utah, when an armed gunman entered and shot a fellow parishioner. With complete disregard for his own safety, and relying upon his deployment experience and training, Bartel immediately placed his family under a church pew for their safety.
Bartel, along with another parishioner, charged the gunman before he could fire again. The gunman fled the church. Bartel aggressively pursued the gunman out of the church and through the parking lot until he lost sight of him in a nearby neighborhood. The gunman, who was subsequently captured by authorities without causing further harm, stated in deposition that the actions of Bartel prevented him from shooting his second target, the victim’s spouse.
“Sergeant Bartel’s quick thinking and heroic actions prevented loss of life and further harm to his church family,” said Col. Bryan Radliff, 419th Fighter Wing commander. “His selfless actions are a testament to the great people we have in our wing. I am proud of the Airmen of the 419th and I am proud of Sergeant Bartel.”
The Airman’s Medal is given by the Secretary of the Air Force and awarded to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States or of a friendly nation who, while serving in any capacity with the United States Air Force, distinguished himself or herself by a heroic act not involving actual combat.