Editor’s Note: The following is the citation that accompanied the bronze star medal awarded to Captain Katelin M. Morrissey of Old Bethpage.
Captain Katelin M. Morrissey distinguished herself by meritorious achievement as Defense Force Commander, 443d Air Expeditionary Squadron, 447th Air Expeditionary Group, 321st Air Expeditionary Wing, Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, while engaged in operations against an opposing armed force from Jan. 18 to July 29.
During this period, while exposed to significant threats from improvised explosive devices and suicide attacks, she led 56 Security Forces defenders in support of Operation “Inherent Resolve.” In response to imminent hostile action reports targeting her location with a indirect fire and rocket attacks, she commanded Iraq’s only airfield defense security forces team, providing security for the largest coalition airfield in Iraq by directing 95,000 man-hours and organizing 1,500 amber zone missions and 1,700 random security measures.
Additionally, she established a joint threat working group synchronizing United States Army Counter Intelligence, the Office of Special Investigations and Danish Intelligence with airfield tenant units, identifying and mitigating four threats from Da’esh extremists.
Moreover, Morrissey centered the Senior Airfield Authority’s responsibility and security requirement, resulting in an increase of 12 defenders and correcting a two-year security gap. Her leadership and direction optimized manpower reforming force protection procedures by composing and revising 14 special security instructions, decreasing threat response time by 60 percent for 70 aircraft valued at more than $3 million.
Furthermore, while operating in high-risk areas susceptible to kidnapping and insider threats, Morrissey collected counter intelligence on a high value individual generating eight joint counter intelligence team information reports in countering Shia militia group threats to the base, protecting 4,000 personnel.
Finally, she traveled outside of the coalition-protected perimeter, through territory frequented by known anti-collision militias and conducted 36 key leader engagements with senior Iraqi officials. Under constant danger from vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices and sniper fire, she coordinated four force protection projects bolstering the installation’s security and strengthening host nation relations.
The exemplary leadership, personal endeavor and devotion to duty displayed by Morrissey in this responsible position reflect great credit upon herself and the United States Air Force by order of Lieutenant General Joseph T. Guastella.