MISSISSIPPI – The Mississippi National Guard recognized three USDA Forest Service employees, Ed Moody, Jamie Craven and Anthodny Bond, for assisting with the recovery of the paratroopers caught in trees during a military training exercise on October 3, 2019. They received the highest honor that the Mississippi National Guard can present to a civilian, the Mississippi Meritorious Civilian Service Medal.
Moody, Craven and Bond were recognized at the Camp Shelby All Ranks’ Club on October 24, 2019. Major General Janson D. Boyles, the Adjutant General of Mississippi, presented 17 Mississippi Meritorious Civilian Service Medals to local citizens and first responders for assisting with the recovery and care of the paratroopers from the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, on that perilous night.
“The immediate and positive actions of everyone involved ensured the safety of the paratroopers and is held in the highest regard. Thank you again for making the mission a success by returning our paratroopers safely back to their units,” said Boyles.
Forest Service employees usually use their tree climbing skills to care for an endangered bird species, the Red-cockaded woodpecker. Tree climbing allows Forest Service staff to look inside of RCW nests to tag birds for future tracking reports. That night, Moody, Craven, and Bond used their tree climbing skills to take reach paratroopers high in the tree canopy.
The Forest Service and Mississippi National Guard have a long-standing partnership. National Forests in Mississippi land comprises about 117,000 acres, or 87 percent, of the 135,000 acres that Camp Shelby uses through a long-term special use permit.