Nevada Missouri soldier serving in Afghanistan awarded Bronze Star

Bill Phelan

BAGRAM AIRBASE, Afghanistan - A Nevada, Mo. Army National Guardsman was awarded the Bronze Star Medal during ceremonies April, 18 at Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan.

Staff Sgt. Vance D. Wilkins is assigned to the St. Louis-based 1138th Transportation Company, which is about to conclude a 10-month convoy operations mission throughout Afghanistan.

In the award certificate from Army Secretary John M. McHugh, Wilkins is cited for his exceptional meritorious service in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and his outstanding performance and dedication to duty and to the success of the unit's mission.

"The distinct accomplishments of Staff Sgt. Wilkins reflect great credit upon himself, the 1138th Transportation Company, Task Force 142, the 10th Sustainment Brigade, Joint Sustainment Command-Afghanistan and the United States Army," the certificate read.

Other 1138th Soldiers awarded the Bronze Star included the unit commander, Maj. Jamie P. Melchert, of Columbia, Master Sgt. Jackie R. Acord, of Dixon and 1st Sgt. Robert P. Wendell, of Holts Summit.

As part of Task Force 142, the 1138th conducted more than 90 convoy missions covering an individual combined total of 847,000 miles, delivering critical supplies valued at $2.7 billion to Forward Operating Bases across austere and treacherous terrain. In addition, the unit escorted more than 4,900 Afghan national trucks carrying critical vehicles and equipment in support of units throughout eastern Afghanistan and helped dispose of unused ammunition.

Prior to the unit's deployment, Soldiers of the 1138th underwent two months of intensive convoy operations and combat training in Missouri, Kansas and Texas.

The 1138th Transportation Company is headquartered at historic Jefferson Barracks in south St. Louis County and is a subordinate unit of the 311th Brigade Support Battalion, based in Lexington.

The unit is scheduled to return to the U.S. this spring.

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