Richard Hunter is a combat controller in the Air Force’s only special operations ground force, which specializes in tactical air-and-ground integration to enable global access, precision strikes and personnel recovery.
In November 2016, Hunter was the sole Joint Terminal Attack Controller for a combined team of Army Special Forces and Afghan commandos when his team was ambushed during a mission. Hunter heroically dragged one teammate to cover and shielded two others with his own body while calling in 31 danger-close airstrikes and eliminating 27 enemy forces. His heroic actions were responsible for the medical evacuation of 20 allied forces wounded in action and the exfiltration of his entire special operations forces team.
Hunter, a Georgia native who joined the Air Force in 2009, has received a Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Combat Action Medal, National Defense Service Medal and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. On October 17, he was awarded the Air Force Cross for his actions in Afghanistan and his distinctive accomplishments reflect credit upon himself and the Air Force.