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Harris earns Bronze Star for actions in Afghanistan

Maj. Derek Harris, the son of the Rev. and Mrs. Lacornia Harris of Demopolis, was awarded the Bronze Star on Feb. 24.

The Bronze Star, established in 1944, is awarded to individuals for acts of heroism or meritorious achievement in ground combat. It is the fourth-highest combat award for the U.S. Armed Forces.

According to Harris’s citation, he earned the Bronze Star “for dedication to duty and personal sacrifices contributed to the defeat of insurgent networks.”

Harris served as deputy director of logistics for the Combined Joined Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan from June to October 2009. He is currently serving with the 730th Air Mobility Squadron at Yokota Air Base in Japan.

“Derek has the drive and character that never quits,” said Col. Richard McClain, the 515th Air Mobility Operations Wing commander who presented Harris with the Bronze Star. “He is steadfast, determined and an excellent decision-maker. He is the model officer that we want out there serving in Operation Enduring Freedom with our joint partners.”

“The crowning moment of my deployment was (when) one of the team leaders…came into our office and said, ‘I just personally wanted to thank you for everything you’ve done to support my team,’” said Harris after receiving the citation. “(He said,) ‘My 12-man team came out here, and because of some of the things you did, my 12-man team is going home.’ So, Bronze Star or not, that one moment culminated my tour.”

Harris is a 1990 graduate of Demopolis High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from Auburn University in economics. He has served in the military since graduating from college.