U.S. Air Force officer receives prestigious Order of Saint Barbara
KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- A U.S. Air Force officer assigned to Kadena Air Base was awarded the Honorable Order of Saint Barbara Feb. 19, at Camp Foster, Japan.
Lt. Col. Daniel Biehl, 623rd Air Control Flight commander, was bestowed the honor, which is usually reserved for U.S. Army and Marine Corps artillerymen.
Biehl is a career command and control officer with more than 1,800 flight hours and multiple combat deployments over his 22-year career.
U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Jim Pasquarette, U.S. Army Japan and I Corps (Forward) commander, presented the award.
According to the Field Artillery Association, The Honorable Order of St. Barbara recognizes those individuals who have demonstrated the highest standards of integrity and moral character, displayed an outstanding degree of professional competence and contributed to the promotion of the Field Artillery or Air Defense Artillery in ways that stand out in the eyes of the their seniors, subordinates and peers.
U.S. Army Lt. Col. Scott Dellinger, 1st Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Brigade commander, recommended Biehl for the award.
"It was fitting to honor Biehl," Dellinger said. "[He] has helped foster a joint environment between soldiers, marines and airmen on Okinawa."
Biehl, whose current job is to command tactical operations teams that liaise directly with Japanese air and ground forces on Integrated Air and Missile Defense of Japan, also directs the U.S. air and air defense artillery employment within a sector of the Japanese Air Defense System.
For the past year Biehl has been integrating a new 94th Army Air & Missile Defense Command Fire Control element into his operations teams. This team fills a gap in capability that has existed for more than 20 years.
"We actually need each other to perform our jobs," U.S. Army Capt. Emily Schaefer, the officer in charge of the team said. "If we weren't attached to the 623rd we would both be missing critical capabilities and would not be able to execute to our full potential."
"We don't take it lightly," Schaefer said of giving the medal to an Air Force officer. "As an Air Force officer, to be recognized by the Air Defense Artillery Branch; it is a big deal. It speaks to Lt. Col. Biehl's individual capabilities and commitment to our joint team."
Biehl said it was an honor to be recognized by the Army artillery community.
He also said the 1-1 ADA often involves his unit in training on Okinawa and vice-versa; from live bilateral & joint exercises to simulations.
He believes integration to be the new normal for the joint community.
"In the complex Integrated Air & Missile Defense world it is perilous to try to go it alone," Biehl said. "Without each other, we are doomed to fail before we even start."
"The 94th [AAMDC] forward element here feels like a welcome part of the 623rd team," Schaefer said. "We live and operate daily with the Air Force."
The Order of Saint Barbara is named after the legend of Saint Barbara.
According to a description of the medal, Saint Barbara was tortured and beheaded by order of her wealthy father for converting to Christianity in A.D. 300.
The legend says Saint Barbara's father was struck by lightning and killed after her death.
Saint Barbara is now considered the patron saint of artillerymen.
The Order of Saint Barbara is an honorary military society of the United States Field Artillery.
The order is managed by the U.S. Field Artillery Association and links field artillerymen of the past and present in a brotherhood of professionalism, selfless service and sacrifice symbolized by Saint Barbara.