From paralegal to war fighter
By Senior Airman Brittany Dowdle, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Public Affairs
/ Published July 10, 2012
DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Imagine, as a paralegal, one day you are helping someone with a power of attorney and the next day you are helping protect unarmed colleagues from enemy fire in a war zone. This is how one staff sergeant went above his everyday job to help his fellow service members.
Staff Sgt. Dallas Brewer, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) military justice paralegal, was awarded the Air Force Combat Action Medal here, June 19, 2012. Brewer was deployed to Headquarters International Security Assistance Force in Kabul, Afghanistan from November 2010 to November 2011, in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.
"It wasn't something that we had planned to do," Brewer said. "I didn't do anything spectacular. We just followed orders. It was just something that had happened because I did my job."
On September 13, 2011, Brewer and several coworkers received a notification that the rear gate of their camp was under attack and may have been breached.
"We were guarding a vehicle entry gate into the compound when we got word over the radio that the enemy had breached the facility and they were on camp," Brewer said. "At that point, we donned our gear and provided shelter for two unarmed allied colleagues."
During the complex enemy attack on the ISAF compound that consisted of fire from 82 millimeter recoilless rifles, rocket propelled grenades, and machine guns, Brewer and his team were directed to set up a point defense position around the work facility.
"We knew we were getting shot at but we weren't sure from where at first," Brewer said. "We could hear the whistling of the RPG and we could see them coming across. We were outside while all of this was going on for about three hours."
Despite grave danger to himself and his colleagues, Brewer remained at his assigned post for more than three hours, defending the area until an instruction order was given for personnel to cease fire and retreat to hardened facilities.
Brewer and the team broke from their point of defense and escorted unarmed personnel to an interior hardened building.
"We did sweeps of the compound and once it was determined that no one was able to breech the compound, we escorted the unarmed individuals to a secure facility," Brewer said. "We provided security during the clearing of the Marriott building, which took about 48 hours."
As a military justice paralegal, the everyday job for Brewer consists of processing court martials, Articles 15, demotions, and normal paralegal duties.
"When we're deployed we don't do the same thing we do in the states," Brewer said. "We conduct death investigations, wrongful death investigations, witness interviews with locals, and all kinds of different things that you don't see at home station."
Lt. Gen. Robin Rand, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) commander, presented Brewer with the Air Force Combat Action medal on June 19, 2012.