Christopher J. Riccardi

Army Pvt. Christopher J. Riccardi has graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C.

Riccardi is a 2009 graduate of Forest Grove High School. During nine weeks of training, Riccardi studied the Army's mission, history, tradition and core values. He passed physical fitness tests and received instruction and practice in basic combat skills and other disciplines.

Cory J. Aasland

by: COURTESY PHOTO - AaslandAir Force Airman Cory J. Aasland graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in San Antonio, Texas.

He is a 2009 graduate of Forest Grove High School. The airman completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness and basic warfare principles and skills. Airmen who complete basic training earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force. Aasland is the son of Loren Aasland of Hillsboro and Deanna Aasland of Forest Grove.

Benson awarded Valorous Unit Award

John "Jack" Benson, a 1999 graduate of Forest Grove High School, has received the Valorous Unit Award along with the rest of his unit.

The Valorous Unit Award is among the highest honors an Army unit can receive, second only to the Presidential Unit Citation.

Between Dec. 23, 2010, and Jan. 30, 2011, Benson and his team of U.S. soldiers "changed the lives of thousands of civilians and paved the way of prosperity for future generations in Western Nangarhar Province," reads the award announcement.

The team took 19 days to complete air assaults and nine clearance operations, which "resulted in the reconnection of an entire district to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan," the citation continues.

Benson was also awarded the Army Commendation Medal for his service in Iraq in 2008.

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