Silver Star : The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Staff Sergeant Mark J. Schmauss, United States Air Force, for gallantry in connection with military operations against the forces of the Republic of Iraq, while serving as Illuminator Operator of AC-130H Spectre Gunship "Spirit 03", of the 16th Special Operations Squadron, U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command, in action against the Iraqi Army near Khafji, Saudi Arabia, on 31 January 1991. On that date, while performing an Operation DESERT STORM AC-130H armed reconnaissance mission, Sergeant Schmauss was tasked to engage a free rocket over ground missile site. As the gunship Illuminator Operator, Sergeant Schmauss assisted the aircrew by tracking the position of the missile site and began firing 40 and 105 millimeter munitions at the target. While engaging the target, the air crew received heavy fire from numerous anti-aircraft artillery sites. His courageous and aggressive attack continued while under unceasing anti-aircraft artillery fire preventing a missile attack on allied coalition forces. The actions of Sergeant Schmauss aided the allied forces in repelling the Iraqi Army incursion south into the Saudi Arabia border town of Khafji. The professional competence, aerial skill, and devotion to duty displayed by Staff Sergeant Schmauss in the dedication of this service to his country reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.