LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Eight Kentucky Air National Guard members, including some who saved other soldiers' lives, received honors Sunday for their service in Afghanistan.
Maj. Gen. Ed Tonini, Kentucky's adjutant general, presented the medals at the Air National Guard base in Louisville.
"These are eight people who did extraordinary things," Tonini said. "They're all heroes."
Seven Guard members received a Distinguished Flying Cross, a Bronze Star, or an Air Force combat action medal. One member, Technical Sgt. Robert Bonello, earned two Bronze Star medals.
In one battle, Bonello directed an attack on Afghan insurgents while they fired at his unit for three hours. Bonello's actions saved other soldiers' lives and led to 16 insurgent deaths.
"You think about all the guys who were there with you, pushing through and making it happen," Bonello said after the ceremony. "The biggest takeaway is, we couldn't do this without each other."
U.S. military officials have mobilized Kentucky National Guard members 1,600 times since the beginning of the war in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Tonini said.
Kentucky's numbers include both U.S. Army soldiers and Air Force airmen, he said.
Technical Sgt. Jeff Kinlaw received a Bronze Star on Sunday for his work in a 14-hour firefight with Afghan insurgents, a battle during which he killed 18 enemy fighters.
"I just felt very proud to have my family and my friends here (for the ceremony)," Kinlaw said.
Capt. Nathan Tingle, a combat rescue officer, was the only recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross, for heroism during a combat flight.
Tingle helped saved two soldiers who were ambushed with improvised explosive devices in an Afghan minefield in 2011.
"It was obviously a pivotal point in my deployment," Tingle said. "I try not to think about awards and decorations, we're just out there to do the job."
The full list of Louisville-area award recipients:
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