The White House announced on Thursday that President Trump will present the nation’s highest award for military valor, the Medal of Honor, to Master Sgt. Matthew Williams for his heroism in combat during a raid in the mountains of Afghanistan in 2008. Williams, who was assigned to Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha 3336 during the operation, has been credited with evacuating numerous casualties while taking direct fire from enemy sniper positions and nearby ground troops.
According to the White House statement, then-Sergeant Williams led an Afghan commando element “across a fast-moving, ice cold, and waist-deep river to fight its way up a terraced mountain to the besieged lead element of the assault force.” From there, Williams laid down fire effectively enough to pin the enemy in their positions until his Team Sergeant was injured by sniper fire. Williams moved into fire to evacuate the wounded soldier down a sheer mountainside before once again exposing himself to enemy fire as he climbed back up the cliff to get back into the fight.
Once there, Williams was able to fix the team’s satellite radio to get it functioning again and proceeded to evacuate more injured soldiers, exposing himself to enemy fire repeatedly as he brought troops to the casualty collection point to be airlifted out.
“Sergeant Williams’s actions helped save the lives of four critically wounded Soldiers and prevented the lead element of the assault force from being overrun by the enemy,” the White House wrote.
This decision represents an upgrade to the Silver Star already awarded to Williams for his actions during the firefight. This upgrade is a part of a force-wide review of medals awarded for valor throughout the Global War on Terror.
“His complete disregard for his own safety and concern for the safety of his teammates ensured the survival of four critically wounded soldiers and prevented the lead element of the assault force from being overrun by the enemy,” Lt. Col. Loren Bymer, a spokesman for U.S. Army Special Operations Command, said in a separate statement.
Williams joined the army from his hometown of Boerne, Texas in May of 2005 and remains on active duty today. Now a Master Sergeant, Williams is assigned to Fort Bragg, where he enjoys hunting and spending time with his wife, Kate, and their son, Nolan during his off-duty hours, per the White House release.
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