Early morning on August 28th, Camp White Eagle of the Polish Contingent in Ghazni Province Afghanistan received an early wake-up call when a suicide bomber detonated his car outside the base entrance. Following the explosion, Taliban fighters stormed the base attacking from three directions at the same time. Taking advantage of the carnage caused by the blast, the enemy poured inside the base complex. A number of the fighters were equipped with suicide belts filled with explosives.
During a ten minute battle, Polish army and commandos were joined by several Americans present in the base. One of them was US Army Staff Sargent Michael Ollis of Staten Island, New York, who at the time was deployed on his third tour with 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division.
While the battle was raging, a suicide bomber managed to approach the defending forces. SSGT Ollis noticed an impending detonation and covered a Polish soldier standing next to him, thus receiving the full extent of the blast but saving his comrade. His actions have shown the highest of Military Valour, a sacrifice for his brothers in arms.
Sargent Ollis was the sole American casualty, but the attack claimed the lives of seven Afghan National Army soldiers and policemen, and ten Polish soldiers were wounded, of which one later died of sustained injuries. Some 20 Taliban fighters were neutralized and among them eight suicide bombers.
For his bravery and sacrifice SSGT Ollis was awarded the US Silver Star. Polish Military officials recently presented his family with the Polish Army Gold Medal and the Polish Afghanistan Star that he was awarded for saving a Polish brother in arms.
Lest we forget…