Commander awarded Bronze Star Published March 12, 2008 By SELFRIDGE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, MICH. -- Colonel John H. Theisen, 127th Maintenance Group commander, received the Bronze Star during a formal military ceremony here December 2. "It's an honor to recognize Colonel John Theisen for the his outstanding performance while deployed," said Colonel David Miller, 127th Wing vice commander prior to pinning the medal upon Theisen. The Bronze Star is awarded to a person in any branch of the military who has distinguished himself by heroic or meritorious achievement or service. Colonel Theisen distinguished himself with meritorious achievement while deployed to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan last summer. There, he commanded more than 650 personnel and was responsible for the maintenance of F-16, F-15, A-10, and C-130 aircraft. His efforts increased mission capable rates by 5 percent and ensured Air Force aircraft were airborne when scheduled and needed by combatant commanders. While serving in Operation Enduring Freedom, Colonel Theisen also led efforts to identify and solve certain reliability problems with the small diameter bomb, resulting in 60 percent reduction in flight failures of the newest weapon in the Air Force inventory. These actions were conducted while he was subject to indirect hostile fire that struck within close proximity to his maintenance personnel and during the most active period of combat in OEF. At Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Colonel Theisen oversees maintenance on the 127th Wing's F-16s - a combat experienced unit that has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom twice since 2004. His leadership at with the 127th Wing guided the local Air National Guard unit to achieve the milestone of 50,000 safe flying hours in 2006, an award presented by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. Col. Theisen, who achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in high school, received his commission from the Reserve Officer's Training Corps into the United States Army in 1980. Assigned to the British Sector in the Federal Republic of Germany, he regularly participated in interoperability operations with NATO forces in the defense of Europe. Upon his discharge from active duty, Colonel Theisen accepted a position as a contract negotiator in the defense industry administering space age programs dealing with aircraft logistical systems, advanced armor development, electronic simulations and Foreign Military Sales. Continuing his military service, Colonel Theisen entered the Air National Guard in a support and logistics capacity. Returning from Operation Desert Storm, he left General Dynamics Land Systems and accepted a full time position in the Michigan Air National Guard. In 1996, he commanded the Air National Guard's contingency in providing security to the Centennial Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia. He has commanded the 127th Maintenance Group since 2004.