Friday, December 12, 2008

Ten Soldiers Awarded Silver Stars

From the AP (Yeah, I know the AP frowns on us using their articles like this, but this is important)

Ten soldiers from the 3rd Special Forces Group received Silver Stars for valor during an April 2008 mission in the Skok Valley in Afghanistan. Following are names of the soldiers, their hometowns and summations of their medal citations:

_ Staff Sgt. Dillon Behr, Rock Island, Ill.

Behr held his position even after sustaining a life-threatening wound to his leg. Behr continued to fire at insurgents despite being critically wounded a second time, allowing injured U.S. and Afghan soldiers to be evacuated. Behr fought until he was physically incapable of holding his rifle.

_ Spc. Michael D. Carter, Smithville, Texas.

Carter left his covered position and charged 15 feet into heavy fire to get a critically wounded soldier. Carter treated two team members, allowing the medic to render aid to 10 wounded Afghan commandos. Later, Carter assisted in an extremely dangerous rescue of more than six casualties down a near vertical 60 foot cliff.

_ Master Sgt. Scott Ford, Athens, Ohio

Ford organized a counter assault to reinforce his besieged teammates. Ford exposed himself to insurgent fire in order to direct the soldiers in the wadi below to move forward and assist in moving casualties. His upper left arm was almost shot off by a sniper round. With a tourniquet on his arm to stop arterial bleeding, Ford was able to climb down the mountain.

_ Staff Sgt. Seth E. Howard, Keene, N.H.

Howard fought up a 60-foot cliff under intense fire after hearing two critically wounded members were in danger of being overrun. Placing himself between his wounded comrades and the enemy fire, he provided counter sniper fire, killing between 10 and 20 insurgents. He refused to withdraw from his position, although he had less than a magazine left of ammunition, until all of his teammates and commandos were off the mountain.

_ Staff Sgt. Luis Morales, Fredericksburg, Va.

With total disregard for his own personal safety, Morales ran into the line of fire to aid a wounded teammate and used his body to shield his teammate until he was wounded. Ignoring the severity of his wound, and losing a tremendous amount of blood, he quickly administered self aid and then returned to providing life saving help to his more severely wounded teammate.

_ Staff Sgt. David J. Sanders, Huntsville, Ala.

Sanders located an alternate but more arduous route down the mountain. Sanders ascended and descended the mountain three times to move casualties.

_ Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer, Pullman, Wash.

Shurer immediately rendered aid to four critically wounded U.S. and 10 injured commandos under intense fire. At least twice, he dashed into the open to treat a wounded soldier.

_ Staff Sgt. John W. Walding, Groesbeck, Texas

Walding led an attack five hundred meters up treacherous terrain, braving close air strikes to reinforce the most forward position. Despite receiving a life threatening injury, Walding continued to suppress insurgent positions in order to defend his comrades. One of his legs had to be amputated.

_ Capt. Kyle M. Walton, Carmel, Ind.

Walton repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire in order to pull wounded Americans and Afghans to safety. Walton called in effective air strikes and even dropped a 2,000-pound bomb almost directly on his position to prevent insurgent forces from overruning his force.

_ Staff Sgt. Matthew O. Williams, Casper, Wyo.

Williams fought for over an hour up a mountain while under intense enemy fire to help rescue wounded members of his team. After his team sergeant was wounded, he ran through a gauntlet of heavy machine gun fire to render aid. He then helped his team sergeant climb down a near 60 foot vertical cliff to the casualty collection point. Williams then braved more fire to climb back up the hill and help his other teammates down the cliff to safety.
It sounds like these men sure stepped in it, but when you read an account of the battle you find that "All the Americans survived."

From the

By Kevin Maurer

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — Capt. Kyle Walton remembers pressing himself into the jagged stones that covered the cliff in northeast Afghanistan.

Machine gun rounds and sniper fire ricocheted off the rocks. Two rounds slammed into his helmet, smashing his head into the ground. Nearby, three of his U.S. Army Special Forces comrades were gravely wounded. One grenade or a well-aimed bullet, Walton thought, could etch April 6, 2008 on his gravestone.

Walton and his team from the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group had been sent to kill or capture terrorists from a rugged valley that had never been penetrated by U.S. forces — or, they had been told, the Soviets before them.
Head on over and read the entire account of this battle in the mountains of Afghanistan. These men deserve at least that much of your time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i read the story on yahoo this morning right after our annual promotions list came out from the top brass. it put things into perspective to say the least. i think a few "promotions" are in order.