Fightin’ Fifty-Fifth member earns Bronze Star

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  • 55th Wing Public Affairs
A member of the 55th Maintenance Group was presented a Bronze Star Medal during a ceremony here June 19, 2020.
Master Sgt. David Schoenagel, 55th MXG first sergeant, earned the medal by distinguishing himself against an opposing armed force during a deployment to Camp Taji, Iraq, from April 10, 2019 to October 20, 2019.
“This is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to present a bronze star,” said Col. Gavin Marks, 55th Wing commander, who presented the medal during the ceremony. “This doesn’t occur very often. Bronze stars are given out for conspicuous gallantry, they’re given out for bravery and meritorious service. The distinction is those actions took place in a combat zone. We have numerous Warhawks right now, in combat zones and they don’t come home with a bronze star. In this case, this was awarded for meritorious achievement at great risk to his life and the lives of his teammates. That is truly significant.”
During his deployment in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, Schoenagel served as the maintenance team lead and rotary wing air advisor for the 370th Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron. In this role, he led 249 air advisory missions and 145 key leader engagements into the heart of enemy territory, placing himself at risk from numerous credible threats of improvised explosive devices, insider attacks and targeted kidnappings.
“My leadership gave me the freedom to run my team the way I needed to, my team of advisors worked their butts off every day to teach the Iraqi’s how to do their job and the support I had from above and below me are the only reason I could achieve this,” said Schoenagel.
Schoenagel also synchronized operations for the unit and streamlined the independent training efforts of nine disparate specialty codes. Through this process he helped develop 15 maintenance courses, which advanced the skills of the Iraqi Air Enterprise partners.
“I am extremely proud of Schoenagel and the amazing work he did in support of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE,” said Chief Master Sgt. Shannon Thomas, 55th Maintenance Squadron superintendent. “We are fortunate to have him on our team here in the 55th Maintenance Squadron.”
In addition, Schoenagel led a Tiger Team to produce rotary wing emergency response courseware used to instruct 2,400 Iraqi maintenance technicians. These efforts invariably helped the Iraqi Army Aviation Command defeat Da’esh.
Schoenagel joined the Air Force in 1999 and has served with the 55th Wing since 2011. 
“I’m so proud of my son and his family and everything he’s done for our country,” said Thomas Schoenagel, David’s father, who served in the U.S. Navy and was in town to attend his son’s ceremony. “I’m proud he’s followed the tradition of our family and made the military his life.”