For the first time, two airmen were awarded Air Force Crosses at the same ceremony for acts of valor during separate events in Afghanistan.
Retired Master Sgt. Keary Miller. a pararescueman assigned to the 123rd Special Tactics Squadron in 2002, fought in the 17-hour battle that has become known as the Battle of Robert’s Ridge.

Staff Sgt. Chris Baradat, a combat controller assigned to the 21st Expeditionary Special Tactics Squadron, directed 13 releases of 500-pound bombs and more than 1,100 rounds from A-10s and AC-130s during three hours of fighting in 2013.

The special tactics airmen had previously received Silver Stars for gallantry, but their medals were upgraded as a result of a Defense Department-mandated review of valor awards bestowed for actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Air Force Cross is the service’s second highest medal for valor in combat.

 Master Sgt. Keary Miller
 On March 4, 2002, then-Tech. Sgt. Miller led a combat search and rescue team to find two service members who were trying to evade al-Qaida and Taliban forces near Marzak, Afghanistan.
(Photo courtesy of Kerry Miller/Air Force Times)
Before the MH-47 Chinook special operations helicopter on which he was riding could land, the enemy unleashed rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire, causing the aircraft to crash-land, according to Miller’s Air Force Cross citation.
Three of the team members died and five were critically injured in the crash. Miller trudged through deep snow and crossed open danger areas on the battlefield to aid the wounded troops.
He then removed M203 grenade launcher and 5.56 rounds from the deceased and moved through RPG, mortar and small-arms fire to distribute the ammunition to troops who needed it.
After another attack erupted, killing one of the other pararescuemen, Miller ran through lines of fire to move the wounded to a more covered area, according to the citation…
Staff Sgt. Chris Baradat
Eleven years after the Battle of Robert’s Ridge, Baradat, attached to an Army Special Forces team, was a member of a quick reaction force that responded to a coalition element pinned down in Sono valley, Afghanistan.
On April 6, 2013, they entered the valley on foot and immediately came under fire.
The special tactics airman ran through a hail of gunfire, engaging the enemy with gun runs from the overhead A-10s, according to Baradat’s citation.
(Courtesy photo/Air Force Times)
He and a handful of his teammates took cover in a small compound about 400 meters from the pinned-down element.
Insurgents fired on both the compound and those who were pinned down, and Baradat realized he couldn’t communicate with the aircraft overhead from his protected position.
He moved to the center of the compound — and into direct enemy fire. Ignoring shouts from his teammates to take cover from the machine gun fire hitting the ground all around him, he spent the next three hours directing six A-10 Warthogs and  two AC-130 gunships onto 13 enemy fighting positions with more than 100 fighters, according to the citation.

This is freaking sickening:

A Navy SEAL stationed in San Diego filmed himself molesting a sleeping girl, raped a woman in Virginia and kept a stash of child porn on his cellphone that included footage involving an infant having sex with a dog, according to allegations unsealed in federal court in Virginia Beach, Va.

Arrested in San Diego by federal marshals more than two weeks ago, SEAL Team One Petty Officer 1st Class Gregory Kyle Seerden, 31, faces felony child pornography and child sex assault charges in Virginia following an investigation by Naval Criminal Investigative Service’s Norfolk field office.

Agents investigating the reported rape of an unconscious Virginia woman uncovered the child sex crimes.

Identified as Jane Doe in court documents, the woman accused Seerden of raping her Jan. 27 after she blacked out after drinking with Seerden in his hotel room aboard Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek — Fort Story, where he was on a temporary assignment…

…Seerden’s criminal defense attorney, Gerard Jeffrey Wasson, has not returned a call placed Friday morning seeking comment. If convicted, the mandatory minimum sentence for the charges is 15 years in prison.

Damn you, internet:

Afghanistan is the Forever War:

Roughly 300 Marines are en route to Afghanistan to help Afghan troops stop the Taliban from swallowing more of the hard-fought territory for which so many Marines have bled and died, Marine Corps Times has learned.

The deployment of Marines from the II Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, will be the largest Marine deployment to Afghanistan since 2014, when the U.S. military’s combat mission known as Operation Enduring Freedom officially ended.
By the end of April, the Marines will be in Helmand province as Task Force Southwest, replacing the Army’s Task Force Forge. During their nine months in Helmand, the Marines will train the Afghan National Army’s 215th Corps and the 505th Zone National Police in marksmanship, indirect fire and small-unit tactics and other skills, Marine Corps officials said.
Helmand province is becoming increasingly dangerous for U.S. troops. In March, three American soldiers were shot at an Afghan military base in an apparent insider attack and in February, a Special Forces soldier was severely wounded in Sangin.

Trump awards Purple Heart: 

President Donald Trump visited wounded U.S. service members at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Saturday (April 22), his first visit as president to the armed forces hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, outside Washington.

(YURI GRIPAS/REUTERS)

Accompanied by his wife, Melania, Trump awarded Army Sergeant First Class Alvaro Barrientos the Purple Heart, the medal given to members of the U.S. military wounded or killed in battle.

Barrientos was injured in Afghanistan on March 17 when an Afghan soldier opened fire inside a base in Helmand province, wounding three U.S. soldiers. Barrientos’s right leg was amputated, according to a White House official.

Taliban inflict deadliest attack since 2001 on Afghan army:

Afghans are still reeling from the Taliban’s deadliest attack on the security forces since 2001, with the country’s leadership accused of fumbling the response to the atrocity.

As many as a dozen militants stormed the largest army base in northern Afghanistan on Friday, killing at least 140 soldiers, many of them unarmed.

The president, Ashraf Ghani, called for a national day of mourning and travelled to Mazar-i-Sharif to visit the base, but many among a grieving population called for answers, reassurances – and government heads to roll.

Anil Usyan/Reuters

In an apparent attempt to save face, the central administration has continuously downplayed the death toll, which has been confirmed by anonymous officials in many corners of government.

Forty-eight hours after the attack, the president’s office and the defence ministry put the number of dead and injured at “more than 100.” Sediq Sediqqi, the director of the government’s media and information centre, said officials were still verifying the identity of the victims…

…Friday’s attack was the second major intelligence failure in two months, after alleged Islamic State gunmen stormed an army hospital in Kabul in March, killing dozens of injured soldiers and nurses.

Morale could also suffer. The security forces already struggle with a high attrition rate and recruitment problems. More than 6,700 soldiers and police were killed last year, a record high.

Air travel has become unbearable:

This guy had a hell of a Friday night:

ATHENS, Ga. — Early Saturday morning, Athens-Clarke County Police officers responded to a home in the 400 block of Meadow Lane in response to an aggravated assault call.

When they arrived, officers found three victims — two male victims with stab wounds — one to the face, a second with a wound to the back. The third victim was a female with a puncture wound in her lower right abdomen area.

Investigators said 21-year-old Adam Scott Presley was under the influence and began attacking the victims with a knife, and had fled before officers arrived.

(Athens-Clarke County PD)

While officers were still investigating the Meadow Lane location, they received an indecent exposure call from a Walmart store on Lexington Road in Athens.

When officers arrived at the Walmart, they found a nude white male inside the store. Officers said it appeared the suspect was under the influence, and had blood on him. They were able to identify him as Presley…

…While EMS personnel were examining Presley, he told them he was under the influence of LSD, and admitted he had stabbed several people, saying, “There is nothing wrong with that.”

Short Roundup due to OpsTempo this week. See you next week. -BK

@BKactual