Friday, December 12, 2008

Meanwhile Back In The Fight

From the Washington Post

By Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 12, 2008; Page A01

After jumping out of helicopters at daybreak onto jagged, ice-covered rocks and into water at an altitude of 10,000 feet, the 12-man Special Forces team scrambled up the steep mountainside toward its target -- an insurgent stronghold in northeast Afghanistan.

"Our plan," Capt. Kyle M. Walton recalled in an interview, "was to fight downhill."

But as the soldiers maneuvered toward a cluster of thick-walled mud buildings constructed layer upon layer about 1,000 feet farther up the mountain, insurgents quickly manned fighting positions, readying a barrage of fire for the exposed Green Berets.

A harrowing, nearly seven-hour battle unfolded on that mountainside in Afghanistan's Nuristan province on April 6, as Walton, his team and a few dozen Afghan commandos they had trained took fire from all directions. Outnumbered, the Green Berets fought on even after half of them were wounded -- four critically -- and managed to subdue an estimated 150 to 200 insurgents, according to interviews with several team members and official citations.

Today, Walton and nine of his teammates from Operational Detachment Alpha 3336 of the 3rd Special Forces Group will receive the Silver Star for their heroism in that battle -- the highest number of such awards given to the elite troops for a single engagement since the Vietnam War...

Read the rest HERE

But if someone does a little research they will find this at the USASOC website...


3rd SFG recognizes more than 100 in valor award ceremony
By Staff Sgt. Marie Schult

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (USASOC News Service, Dec. 11, 2008) – On Wednesday, more than 100 members of 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) received valor awards for their actions in Afghanistan.

The 3rd SFG(A) commander, Col. Gus Benton II, presented the awards to his men at the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School Auditorium, in the presence of more than 300 of their friends, Family members and colleagues. In all, the Soldiers received 43 Bronze Star Medals with V-device; 39 Army Commendation Medals with V-device; and 42 Purple Hearts.

The valor device denotes that individuals were awarded a decoration in recognition of a valorous act they performed during combat operations while under direct fire from enemy forces. It may also denote an accomplishment of a heroic nature in direct support of operations against an enemy force.

Benton encouraged the Soldiers to continue to find, fight and finish their enemies. He also took a few moments to praise his men and their actions. Benton said that if asked, none of these Soldiers would claim any greatness. They merely cling to the concept that they were just doing their job.

Benton was speaking about men like Staff Sgt. Morgan P. Ford, who received the Bronze Star Medal with V-device for his actions in a firefight on Nov. 2, 2007. Ford was the .50-caliber machine-gunner on his truck when his convoy was attacked.

“I don’t know what I think,” said the Special Forces weapons sergeant, who had a hard time finding words to describe his feelings on receiving this award. Ford wouldn’t talk about his actions that day, but he did say that his team performed very well.

He added that the action made him more ready for later firefights, of which there were many during the six-month deployment. Ford also received two Purple Hearts for injuries sustained while on his first tour of duty in Afghanistan.

“I did my job and I’ll continue to do my job,” said Sgt. 1st Class Karl W. Wurzbach, the senior weapons sergeant for his team. “I like to think I’m good at it, and I couldn’t imagine life in the civilian world.”

Wurzbach, was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with V-device for his efforts during a six-and-a-half hour gun battle on April 6 in Afghanistan, in which six members of his team were injured —— four of them critically.

While the awards show the extent to which these Soldiers will go for victory they are by no means the capstone of 3rd Group’s efforts. A second valor-award ceremony will take place Friday, Dec. 12 at 2 p.m. in the JFK Auditorium. During that ceremony, 19 Soldiers will be awarded the Silver Star Medal. Lt. Gen. John F. Mulholland, commander of the United States Army Special Operations Command, will present the awards.

I'm sure this will be on the news tonight.

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