NEW CUMBERLAND, Pa., March 5, 2019 —
Air Force Lt. Col. William Jelks was awarded the Bronze Star Medal (second oak leaf cluster) for meritorious service while serving as the Director of Logistics and Maintenance, Train Advise Assist Command-Air, 438th Air Expeditionary Wing, while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force at Forward Operating Base Oqab, Kabul Afghanistan.
Jelks appreciated the opportunity for his deployment to Afghanistan to instruct and advise the Afghan Air Force.
“It was rewarding and challenging, and I express challenging because there was a language barrier and we were in the middle of a combat zone. As we were advising, we were also taking in mortar fire and small arms fire but I am grateful for the opportunity,” commented Jelks.
From August 7, 2017 to August 6, 2018 in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, Jelks was exposed to significant danger from rocket attacks, insider threats, and direct engagements while leading an 18 member directorate as the senior logistics and maintenance advisor (CJ4), supporting an Afghan Air Force fleet of 125 fixed and rotary wing aircraft.
He was responsible for advising the commanding general on all matters pertaining to the aircraft fleet management and sustainment while overseeing ten logistics support contracts worth over $782 million dollars.
Over the course of his deployment, he conducted 110 outside the wire missions advising Afghan senior staff leadership, cultivating strategic logistics support on seven weapons systems. Further, under his mentorship, 30,784 flight hours were generated encompassing 31,044 Afghan Air Force sorties that evacuated 7,344 wounded personnel and moved nine million pounds of cargo.
Additionally, Jelks orchestrated munitions sustainment for three fighting seasons, supporting 12 A-29, 13 UH-60, 25 MD-530 and 47 Mi-17 combat platforms that directly enable the Afghan Air Force and Afghan National Army air to ground combat integration to deliver 1,699 strikes that resulted in the elimination of 16 major narcotic operations, eight improvised explosive devices, manufacturers and over 2,000 insurgent forces.
Jelks is currently serving as the Executive Officer for DLA Distribution San Joaquin, the second largest distribution center in the DLA Distribution network.