- Associated Press - Friday, December 25, 2015

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - Two former Iowa National Guardsmen have been honored for valorous conduct while serving in Afghanistan.

Former Sgt. Justin Schmitt, of Nashua, and former Spc. Brian Swedberg, formerly of Prairie City, were awarded Army Commendation Medals for valor on Wednesday at the National Guard Readiness Center in Waterloo.

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported (https://bit.ly/1YCaLJB ) that Swedberg and Schmitt served together in 2010-11 in Afghanistan with other members of the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, of the Iowa Army National Guard.

Schmitt was cited for heroism during an attack on his squad on Feb. 11, 2011. The squad came under attack from rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire, according to the Iowa National Guard. He is credited with engaging the enemy during heavy enemy fire, helping to redistribute machine gun ammo and checking the status of his soldiers, among other things.

Swedberg was honored for his conduct when his unit was attacked on Jan. 9, 2011. Officials say his squad was ambushed and came under enemy fire. Swedberg is credited with leading the effort against the attack, including encouraging and inspiring his team.

Brig. Gen. Randy Warm, who presented the medals, told a small crowd at the center that the men “reflect well on the high caliber of people in Iowa.”

Afterward, Schmitt said he was honored by the award and appreciative of the turnout at the ceremony.

“It feels good,” he said.

Swedberg declined to comment after the ceremony. His mother, Dawn Larson, said she’s previously given her son dozens of yellow roses to welcome him home.

“Tonight I have red, white and blue,” she said.

___

Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, https://www.wcfcourier.com

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