Members of our nation's military often earn military decorations or awards for their accomplishments, and among one of the highest decorations they can receive is the Silver Star.

It's given for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States.

With a loud applause, and a room full of peers, friends, and family, two Airmen received that honor Monday at a special ceremony at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.

"It's an honor (and) it's surreal," said Staff Sgt. Dale C. Young, a Silver Star-awardee. "You look at guys who have been through this before. I've always seen those before me up on stage receiving medals, and you definitely look up to them."

Young and Tech Sgt. Ismael Villegas both received the special decoration for their efforts in combat.

For Villegas, receiving this medal is a familiar feeling, as he was previously awarded one a few years back.

"It's never the same feeling, but it's always a surreal feeling," he said. "I'm honored to represent my Combat Control career field."

Both men say the medals serve as a reminder of the bigger task at hand.

"You react, you shoot, you move, you communicate with everybody else. You pray when you get a chance," Young said. "Aside from that, you're just doing what you've been trained to do."

"We're fighting for something bigger than ourselves, and we also do it so people can enjoy the freedoms back here," Villegas said.

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