Since 9/11 there have been over 1000 awards for valor consisting of the Silver Star or higher awarded to US troops, mainly in Iraq and Afghanistan. Almost 20 percent of those have been awarded to Special Operations Forces, Navy SEALS, Green Berets, Delta Force commandos and Army Rangers.
The Pentagon and the Special Operations Command has released some of the narratives that accompanied the soldiers’ awards. And they read like a Hollywood script. Some of the narratives were published to give the public a glimpse of the valor of the Special Operations troops, however, the names were blacked out for security concerns.
Taliban insurgents blew a hole in the eastern wall of the fort in east central Afghanistan with a car bomb. The base housed a Provincial Reconstruction Team, a military-civilian unit tasked with helping Afghans rebuild their country. After the blast, 10 insurgents dressed in Afghan army uniforms flowed through the breach with rifles, grenades and suicide vests.
The Army special operator, identified only as “the Medical sergeant” raced to the “sound of gunfire and explosions.” He killed the insurgent closest to him, while two of his fellow commandos gunned down two more. Turning a corner with another commando, they confronted six more insurgents and faced a hailstorm of gunfire and grenades. One bullet struck the sergeant’s helmet, knocking him to the dirt where he continued to fight to blunt the attack.
Sped to a surgery team, the medical sergeant refused treatment, insisting on guarding the medical personnel until more troops arrived.
“His efforts directly supported containing the enemy to the edge of the airfield and saved the lives of (1,400) personnel,” the narrative states.
The Pentagon is reviewing the awards and considering many for reclassification to a higher award. Many Special Operations troops frequently are awarded awards below what they’d normally get in a conventional unit. That is one of the factors in being the “Quiet Professionals”.
To read the entire article from USA Today, click here:
Photo courtesy DOD
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