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Shark selected for national award

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Master Sgt. Carlos Torres, 45th Mission Support Squadron first sergeant and a former 45th Security Forces Squadron member, is one of only two Air Force recipients of the 2007 League of United Latin American Citizens Excellence in Military Service Award. 

The Air Force announced the national awards last week. Sergeant Torres said his award covered a two-year period from 2005-2007. 

While deployed from the 45th Security Forces Squadron in combat operations with the 181st Transportation Battalion during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Sergeant Torres was instrumental in the planning of 350 combat logistic patrols in charge of protecting more than 6,500 vehicles, 12,900 convoy operators and more than $1 billion in combat resources. 

Under his leadership, his combat forces navigated through hostile small arms fire and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), surviving more than 80 IED and 50 enemy complex attacks without sustaining a single casualty or injury. His guidance was crucial to the logistical movement of his unit's overall 830 convoys that traveled more than 530,000 miles and protected 13,000 convoy vehicles throughout Iraq and Kuwait. 

"Sergeant Torres' selfless efforts greatly enhanced mission effectiveness and made an enduring impact on the Global War On Terrorism and the Multi-National Corps - Iraq's effort to usher a new era of freedom and democracy for the Iraqi people," states the Air Force message announcing his LULAC award. "For his tireless and superb performance in combat he was awarded the coveted Bronze Star." 

On the home front, Sergeant Torres provided airtight security for more than 40,000 airfield operations, 1,500 rescue sorties, 4,500 transient aircrafts, and 11 major space launches in support of the War On Terrorism. 

Sergeant Torres was selected for a special duty, superintendent of the Airman and Family Readiness Center, in 2006. 

"He was hand selected out of 12 applicants," said Maj. Matt Wallace, 45th MSS commander. 

Currently, Sergeant Torres is filling in as 45th MSS first sergeant until the incumbent first sergeant returns from his deployment, Major Wallace said. 

"He is a tremendous asset to our Air Force, wing and squadron," said Major Wallace. "It is an honor to work every day with a person of the caliber of Carlos Torres." 

With approximately 115,000 members throughout the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC is considered the largest and oldest Hispanic organization in the United States. LULAC advances the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, health and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs operating at more than 700 LULAC councils nationwide. The organization involves and serves all Hispanic nationality groups.