Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

February 3, 2012 at 4:24am

STS Airman gets great welcome

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As Staff Sgt. Verne Patterson stood on the stage of the base theater at McChord Field and received his Bronze Star with Valor, those in the audience watching waited patiently to show their excitement.

When the opportunity presented itself for people to cheer for the 22nd Special Tactics Squadron Airman, the place got loud.

Patterson, son of Senior Master Sgt. Barbara Adams, a Reservist with the 446th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, was honored at a ceremony Jan. 10 at the base.

Fellow Reservists with Adams' unit and the 446th Airlift Wing came out in force to show their support.

"They all watched him mature and grow up over the years," said Adams, who will celebrate her 26th year with the unit in October. "They're all so proud of him. He feels very supported."

The Bronze Star is awarded in recognition of bravery, heroism and meritorious service during engagement with an armed enemy of the U.S. It is the fourth highest combat honor within the military. The Bronze Star recognizes meritorious service while the Bronze Star with Valor recognizes heroism.

Patterson, 30, took classes at Highline Community College and worked as a delivery driver after graduating from Spanaway Lake High School. But he enlisted in the Air Force soon after, following in the footsteps of his grandfather, an Air Force special operations Airman, and his father, a highly decorated Vietnam helicopter pilot who passed away 17 years ago.

"I supported him in everything he did," said Adams, who works full-time as an ER nurse at Tacoma General and the University of Washington Medical Center.

Although Patterson's mission with the 22nd STS has him gone quite often, Adams said her son has a ton of support behind him.

"I see his children and his wife more than I see him," she said. "We're pretty close."

There is also great support network within the squadron.

"They really take care of each other," Adams said. "It's like another family for him."

Patterson was injured during a deployment about two years ago, but he hasn't let it slow him down.

"He's always been that type of kid," the proud mother said. "He bounces back fast and doesn't let anything get to him."

And while it's often Adams who's the one gushing about how proud she is of her son, Patterson isn't shy about letting his mom - who has deployed six times in her career - know exactly how he feels about her.

"He's proud of what I do," she said.

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