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Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Maj. Adam Robinson hugs 1st Lt. Chad A. Pledger on Thursday after Pledger was awarded a Bronze Star.

DRAPER — Two members of the Utah National Guard were awarded a Silver Star and a Bronze Star, respectively, at a ceremony Thursday at the Utah National Guard's Armory here.

Capt. Chad Pledger, North Ogden, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne), was awarded a Bronze Star with a "V" device, a medal for heroic service and acts of heroism while in armed conflict on Nov. 26, 2006, with armed insurgents. His actions saved Afghan National Army troops' lives as well as lives of his own patrol and enabled them to recover the body of a soldier, 2nd Lt. Scott B. Lundell, who died in the attack.

"It's with reverence and humility that I receive this award," Pledger said.

He received the award on behalf of the Lundells, National Guard leaders who supported the troops, and his wife.

"The general in my life, my wife, forever," Pledger said. He thanked her and his children for their endurance during his absence.

The Silver Star went to 1st Lt. Tyler J. Jensen, Provo, also from the 19th. He was honored for his service while in Afghanistan. On Jan. 27, 2007, Jensen's patrol was attacked by more than 100 insurgents. He exposed himself to enemy fire to save a fellow soldier who was wounded in the fire-fight, rallied Afghan troops and helped prevent his patrol from being overrun by enemy forces.

The Silver Star is the military's third highest award for valor. Jensen was the first member of the Utah National Guard in recent history to receive the Silver Star, said Maj. Hank McIntire, public information officer for the Utah National Guard.

"I've been often asked how it feels to receive this award," Jensen said. "I think the best word I can come up with so far is bittersweet."

He said he is honored and humbled to receive the award, then lamented for those who were not there — fallen friends and soldiers. "The award comes after the heroism," Jensen said.

Many people never get recognized for their heroism, he said, and thanked his wife for standing by him. "You are truly my hero."

Jensen thanked all the wives of the soldiers, then the soldiers of the wives for serving each other while in the service of the United States. He also thanked Jeanine Lundell, wife of slain guardsman Lundell.

"You give me courage," he said.

Finally, he thanked his parents.

Gov. Jon Huntsman placed the awards on the servicemen, saluted them, then shook their hands.

"It's pretty cool to be governor, but it is exceedingly cool to be able to pin on a Silver Star and a Bronze Star with valor, knowing what that represents," Huntsman said.

He thanked the troops for service to the country.

"We've always said that freedom isn't free," he said, "and many here in this room feel that more acutely than others."


E-mail: lwilde@desnews.com