142nd Fighter Wing Special Award
Maj. Gen. Raymond Rees, Adjutant General for the State of Oregon, presents the Bronze Star Medal and certificate to Tech. Sgt. Mendell "Trey" Holley, Feb. 27, 2010, at the Oregon Air National Guard Awards Banquet, Portland, Ore. (stock photo by Tech. Sgt. Greg Neuleib (ret.) 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs Department)
Heroism and Humility: Oregon Air National Guardsman Actions Reverberate



by Tech. Sgt. John Hughel
142nd Fighter Wing


4/5/2012 - April 5, 2012 -- "Some people strengthen the society just by being the kind of people they are", John W. Gardner.

Leadership; the word alone holds many overtones for every Airman who feels compelled to serve their country. Each of us in uniform has known someone who has set the standard of excellence, whether through personality or by persuasion; leadership styles vary for every individual. Sometimes, the unique and repeated actions of one can often be overlooked simply because they lead so effortlessly. One such Airman is 142nd Fighter Wing Master Sgt. Trey Holley, whose natural devotion to others can only be measured by the lives he has touched when repeatedly confronted with difficult situations.

On a recent assignment to Bangladesh, Holley found himself responding to an emergency situation that was not part of his intended mission plan. It was on the flight back to the United States when a Kuwaiti passenger began experiencing severe distress and was in need of medical attention. The Pilot made a request of all the passengers to find anyone who might have medical training and provide assistance. Without hesitation, Holley came to this passenger's assistance. First, he treated for basic needs to prevent shock, then he administered oxygen and finally Holley cared for the passenger for the balance of the 15-hour flight.

Time and again Holley has been recognized for his professionalism and dedication to any situation he has been asked to lead or respond to. "We are extremely proud of him and how he represents the Oregon Air Guard, "said Lt. Col. Paul Fitzgerald, 142nd Fighter Wing Mission Support Commander.

Leading from the front, Holley was an integral member of a team that traveled to the Central Ordnance Depot Center in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He was training Bangladeshi Army, Air Force and Navy Ammunition Technicians during a week-long course in ordnance identification, hazardous materials transportation, and the International Standards for Ammunition Storage.

"His performance was stellar and many of the students commented to me on his high degree of expertise and knowledge", said Billy Johnson, the senior advisor for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

During the Capstone exercise in Bangladesh, Holley personally led the field exercises in which the class visited two sites on a nearby depot; one ammunition storage facility, and an arms depot. Holley led the students through the day-long exercise, participated in their after-action review, and provided constructive feedback to each of the teams -- all of which included members who were very senior in grade.

"He is a professional in every sense of the word and I welcome his participation in any future missions, anywhere in the world," said Johnson.

Uncommon and Heroic actions are not new for Master Sgt. Holley. In 2006, as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Craftsman in Kirkuk, Iraq, he was awarded the Bronze Star for exceptional conduct by neutralizing a hazardous threat when under small arms fire during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Like his noble actions of comforting a stranger on the plane from Bangladesh, Holley's sense of selflessness and quick reaction under life threatening situations has saved lives time and again. "Trey is highly motivated; in my 30 years of being in the EOD field, he is one of the best in the business," said Chief Master Sgt. Marc Savy, 142nd Fighter Wing EOD Chief.

Holley is that unique exemplar; where one person's unexpected actions generate a ripple effect on those around him and change the lives of others in the process.