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Landsberry recognized with rare Airman's Medal, Valley Forge Cross

  • Published
  • By Capt. Jason Yuhasz
  • 152nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Almost exactly one year after his valiant actions saved many lives during the Sparks Middle School shooting incident, Nevada Air Guard Master Sgt. Michael Landsberry was posthumously awarded the U.S. Air Force's Airman's Medal and the National Guard Bureau's Valley Forge Cross for Heroism at a ceremony here Oct. 19.

Landsberry was killed Oct. 21, 2013, during the shooting while working at his civilian job as a teacher. Officials said Landsberry's actions that day irrefutably saved the lives of several students and faculty members.

Landsberry is the first Nevada Guard Airman to receive the Airman's Medal. The Airman's Medal is reserved for U.S. or allied service members who, while working for the Air Force in any capacity, distinguish themselves by voluntary, non-combat heroic actions at the risk of their own life. Since its inception in 1960, only 243 Airman's Medals have been awarded.

The Valley Forge Cross for Heroism is presented by the National Guard Association of the United States and is awarded to an individual who performs heroic acts beyond what is reasonably expected and include lifesaving acts that alleviate public tragedy. Landsberry is also the first Nevada Airman to receive the Valley Forge Cross.

Sharon Landsberry, Michael Landsberry's wife, accepted the awards on behalf of her husband during the ceremony at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center. Adjutant General Brig. Gen. Bill Burks presented the Airman's Medal; Nevada Air Guard chief of staff Brig. Gen. David Snyder and Nevada National Guard Association president Lt. Col. Mary Devine presented the Valley Forge Cross.

More than 500 people attended the ceremony, including dozens of Landsberry's military and civilian coworkers.

"It's feels good to honor Mike and his family and it's a great reminder of what selfless service looks like. Though Mike is gone, he is still an inspiration" said Senior Master Sgt. Jesse Jennings, who worked with Landsberry in the 152nd Airlift Wing's Small Air Terminal. "I hope this helps give Mike's family some closure and reminds them that we're still here for them."

"Now the state and the whole country see how great Mike was and how he lived the values of the Marines and the Air Force," said Tech. Sgt. Katie Mathews, another cohort of Landsberry's from the 152nd Airlift Wing's Small Air Terminal.

Landsberry served in the Marine Corps before becoming a Nevada Guardsman in 2001.