Staff Sgt. Gary Bjerke
Class of 2011
Staff Sergeant Bjerke has been chosen to become a member of North’s Wall of Stars because of his accomplishments in serving our country and protecting our freedom. During his high school time at Waukesha North, Gary participated in track, lacrosse, and was a member of Boy Scout Troop 159. He is currently a member of the American Legion, Post 8 in Waukesha. Staff Sergeant Bjerke has been chosen to become a member of North’s Wall of Stars because of his accomplishments in serving our country and protecting our freedom.
On the morning of January 5th, 2016, Staff Sergeant Bjerke and the 9th Expeditionary Special Operations Squadron & Combined Joint Air Component Afghanistan, conducted an emergency resupply airdrop to a team of United States and Coalition Special Operations Forces who were under hostile fire and impending overrun by enemy forces. Airman Bjerke notified the pilots that they were taking fire and diligently prepared supplies for airdrop and prepared bundles on the aircraft ramp as as the aircraft took on direct fire from enemy forces. His decisive actions led to successful resupply of the Special Forces Team, halting further loss of life, and it directly contributed to a successful counterattack. His deliberate scan and identification of ground threats prevented further damaging enemy engagement with the aircraft, preserving a 72 million dollar asset and the lives of 6 crew members. Lastly, his actions directly contributed to the achievement of national level objectives in Afghanistan and resulted in the safe and timely evacuation of the entire Special Operations team. The outstanding heroism and selfless devotion to the duty displayed by Staff Sergeant Bjerke earned him the US Air Force Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.
For his significant contributions to our community and our country, his selfless actions performed through his military service, and his character of bravery and dedication, we honor Staff Sergeant Gary Bjerke as our Our Northstar Alumnus of the Year.