In the span of fewer than two weeks, yet another Combat Controller (CCT) has earned the Silver Star for his actions in combat in Afghanistan.
On November 22, Technical Sergeant Cody Smith received the Silver Star by Lieutenant General Jim Slife, the commanding officer of Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), for his actions during an ambush in Afghanistan on October 14, 2018.
On that day, Tech. Sgt. Smith was attached to a Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha from the 7th Special Forces Group (7th SFG). The team was ambushed near a village, in Faryab province, by a large number of Taliban insurgents (approximately 600 fighters). Despite having been shot multiple times (the body armor caught the bullets) and surviving numerous blasts, which caused him a concussion, Tech. Sgt. Smith continued to call in accurate and effective close air support (CAS) for his team. His actions that day proved key in the defeat of the enemy force.
During the ceremony, the pilots who provided critical air support were present. “I’m very thankful for the opportunity to see those guys again and shake their hands,” said Tech. Sgt. Smith about the F-16 pilots from the 114th Fighter Wing from the South Dakota Air National Guard. “Largely the reason why I’m still here is because we had the support of those guys. They were incredibly competent in their actions and they had a sense of calm that eased me on the ground and that gave us the ability to put those effects down on the battlefield quickly and efficiently.”
Tech. Sgt. Smith, who was selected as the Air Force Time’s Airman of the Year, is assigned to the 26th Special Tactics Squadron (26th STS). He has completed four combat deployments in the Middle East and Afghanistan.
“We needed to work as a team, and that took every member on the battlefield,” added Tech. Sgt. Smith. “There was no one there that could step in as the [JTAC] and fill my specific role, and I knew that having the ability to communicate with our aircraft and deliver airstrikes was paramount to our safety and our ability to maneuver through this ambush.”
During the battle, Tech. Sgt. Smith called 11 danger-close missions (some were 50 feet from his position) as well as numerous others that weren’t danger-close.
The Silver Star is the nation’s third-highest award for valor in combat.
“My actions are not my own and the amount of effort that was on the battlefield that day and the actions that were taken by my Army teammates was nothing short of incredible,” added Tech. Sgt. Smith said.