Medal of Honor Citation
Lt. Colonel Andrew "Andy" Tanner
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving in a ground combat environment in January, 1985. Lt. Col. Tanner was being escorted back to friendly lines after serving for several months as the military OIC of a partisan group operating in and around Calumet, CO and within the boundaries of the Arapaho National Forest. During this foot movement, Tanner and the partisans were discovered and engaged by elements of a COMBLOC armored unit. Simultaneously, a firefight began between the COMBLOC forces and a unit of allied tanks which were also operating in the area, pinning the group between enemy and friendly forces. With the situation becoming untenable, Tanner singly assaulted the nearest enemy tank to provide a distraction and allow the remaining partisans to escape to safety. Spurred on by his actions, the remainder of the group began to engage the enemy armor with small arms fire and anti-tank weapons. Armed with only his sidearm, Lt. Col. Tanner climbed onto the tank and repeatedly fired into its open gun ports and in the direction of the other enemy armor units, until he was critically wounded by an enemy hand grenade. Despite his injuries, he retained the presence of mind to employ a smoke grenade into an open tank port, obscuring the enemy crew’s view and severely compromising their ability to fight. Though he was killed in the ensuing tank battle, the aggressive attack by Lt. Col. Tanner allowed the remaining partisans to escape to safety and allowed friendly armor units to successfully engage and destroy the enemy. Lt. Col. Tanner’s unhesitating actions in the face of extreme danger are in keeping with the highest traditions of valor, and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force
Air Force Cross Citation
Lt. Colonel Andrew "Andy" Tanner
For performance above and beyond the call of duty while serving in ground combat operations behind enemy lines from November, 1984 to January, 1985. After ejecting from his disabled F-15C during air to air combat near Calumet, CO, Lt. Col. Tanner made contact with a partisan group operating in enemy occupied territory in and around the Arapaho National Forest. Cognizant of the group’s need for professional military guidance, Lt. Col. Tanner delayed his return to friendly lines by assuming de facto military command of the civilian group. Working with established partisan leaders, Tanner provided training in basic and advanced individual and unit tactics, planning of military operations, and military communication and logistics. This training, combined with Col. Tanner’s direct involvement and leadership in engagements, allowed the already active partisan group to mount increasingly effective attacks on enemy supply lines, communications points, and materiel staging facilities throughout the late fall and early winter of 1984, culminating in the liberation of an entire COMBLOC POW/re-education camp located in Calumet, and subsequent destruction of multiple enemy aircraft, supplies, and other enemy assets based there. While not formally trained in guerrilla operations, Lt. Col. Tanner’s initiative, courage, tactical knowledge and leadership proved to be an enormous asset to partisan forces operating within the occupied area, contributing greatly to the destabilization and disruption of enemy operations throughout the region. Though Lt. Col. Tanner was fatally wounded during a firefight while attempting to return to friendly territory in January, 1985, his extraordinary actions while behind enemy lines are in keeping with the highest traditions of valor exhibited by officers of the United States Air Force.