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Old 12-13-2008, 16:26   #46
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10 Green Berets to Receive Silver Star for Afghan Battle
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.

That chilly morning, Walton's mind was on his team's mission: to capture or kill several members of the Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin (HIG) militant group in their stronghold, a village perched in Nuristan's Shok Valley that was accessible only by pack mule and so remote that Walton said he believed that no U.S. troops, or Soviet ones before them, had ever been there.

But as the soldiers, each carrying 60 to 80 pounds of gear, scaled the mountain, they could already spot insurgents running to and fro, they said. As the soldiers drew closer, they saw that many of the mud buildings had holes in the foot-thick walls for snipers. The U.S. troops had maintained an element of surprise until their helicopters turned into the valley, but by now the insurgent leaders entrenched above knew they were the targets, and had alerted their fighters to rally.

Staff Sgt. Luis Morales of Fredericksburg was the first to see an armed insurgent and opened fire, killing him. But at that moment, the insurgents began blasting away at the American and Afghan troops with machine guns, sniper rifles and rocket-propelled grenades -- shooting down on each of the U.S. positions from virtually all sides.



http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...l?hpid=topnews
TS,

I don't understand why they only honored 10 QP's and not 19 as originally stated?

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Old 12-13-2008, 17:01   #47
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Originally Posted by greenberetTFS View Post
TS,

I don't understand why they only honored 10 QP's and not 19 as originally stated?

GB TFS
10 Silver Stars were awarded to ODA 3336 for that particular mission.
9 more were awarded to members of other teams for actions during other missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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Old 12-13-2008, 17:26   #48
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Originally Posted by shortbrownguy View Post
10 Silver Stars were awarded to ODA 3336 for that particular mission.
9 more were awarded to members of other teams for actions during other missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Thanks, Shortbrownguy......

GB TFS
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Old 12-14-2008, 03:16   #49
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Congrads, and May God Bless each and everyone of you, thank you for your service.
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Old 12-14-2008, 16:14   #50
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Congrats to all involved, and my wishes for a full and rapid recovery to all those injured in action.
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Old 12-15-2008, 08:01   #51
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3rd SFG(A) honors 19 Soldiers with Silver Stars

http://news.soc.mil/releases/News%20...081212-02.html

RELEASE NUMBER: 081212-02
DATE POSTED: DECEMBER 12, 2008

Quote:
3rd SFG(A) honors 19 Soldiers with Silver Stars
By Janice Burton
USAJFKSWCS Public Affairs


FORT BRAGG, N.C. (USASOC News Service, Dec. 12, 2008) – In one of the largest awards ceremonies since the Vietnam-era, the 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) awarded 19 Silver Star Medals, two Bronze Star Medals for Valor, two Army Commendation Medals for Valor and four Purple Hearts here at the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, Dec. 12.

Col. Gus Benton II, the commander of the 3rd SFG(A), said the men of the 3rd SFG(A) have distinguished themselves by taking the fight to the enemy and simply “doing what had to be done.”

“It is my distinct honor and privilege to celebrate the awarding of these medals to our intrepid warriors,” Benton said. “History will record and we will long remember their sacrifices.”

Addressing the standing-room-only crowd, Benton said that earlier this week the group had the honor of awarding 43 Bronze Stars for Valor and 39 Army Commendation Medals for Valor.

Prior to the awarding of the medals, vignettes narrated by members of the group explained the daring feats of the SF Soldiers. Each vignette told the story of the battles that occurred and the actions performed by each man receiving a medal. As each group of Soldiers received their medals, they were treated to a thunderous and ongoing standing ovation from the audience.

“As we have listened to these incredible tales, I am truly at a loss for words to do justice to what we have heard here,” said Lt. Gen. John F. Mulholland, commander of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, who presented the awards to the Soldiers. “Where do we get such men? There is no finer fighting man on the face of the earth than the American Soldier. And there is no finer American Soldier than our Green Berets.”

Mulholland said that many people wouldn’t believe the courage displayed by these men.
“If you saw what you heard today in a movie, you would shake your head and say, ‘that didn’t happen,’” Mulholland said. “But it does, every day.”

He explained that the majority of the firefights highlighted in the vignettes took place within ranges that would fit inside the auditorium.

“You can’t imagine the intensity and the stress these men endured for hours and days on end,” he said.

Prior to taking command of USASOC, Mulholland was the commander of Special Operations Command Central, the command which has control over the forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“As the commander responsible for the area, as the reports rolled in, I would shake my head in disbelief,” he said, speaking of the courage and persistence of the SF Soldiers.


“Alone and unafraid, working with their counterparts, they took on a tenacious and dedicated enemy in his homeland, in his own backyard. Imagine the Taliban commander thinking, ‘What the hell do I have to do to defeat these guys?’”

Mulholland said that he was “incredibly humbled” to stand and address the actions of his men, because their actions “speak volumes beyond what I can say.”

“Day-in and day-out, they are the unsung heroes, seeking no recognition,” he continued. “If you asked them, I’m sure they would say the other guy did it.”

Honored during the ceremony with Silver Star Medals were:

The members assigned to ODA 3336 for valorous actions undertaken in Afghanistan onApril 6, 2008:

Capt. Kyle Walton (Carmel, Ind.)
Master Sgt. Scott Ford (Athens, Ohio)
Staff Sgt. Dillon Behr (Rock Island, Ill.)
Staff Sgt. Seth Howard (Kenne, N.H.)
Staff Sgt. Luis Morales (Fredricksburg, Va.)
Staff Sgt. Ronald Shurer (Pullman, Wash.)
Staff Sgt. John Walding (Groesbeck, Texas)
Sgt. David Sanders (Huntsville, Ala.)
Sgt. Matthew Williams (Casper, Wyo.)
Spc. Michael Carter (Smithville, Texas)

The members assigned to ODA 3312 and 3214 for valorous actions undertaken in Afghanistan on Nov. 2, 2007:

Master Sgt. Frederick Davenport (San Diego, Calif.)
Staff Sgt. Robert Hammons (Hunstville, Ala.)
Sgt. 1st Class Jacob Allison (Livonia, N.Y.)
Sgt. 1st Class Paul Fiesel (La Porte, Texas)
For actions undertaken in Afghanistan on Nov. 10, 2007:
Sgt. Gabriel Reynolds (Oswego, Ore.)

For actions undertaken in Iraq on July 27, 2007:

Capt. Kent Solheim (Oregon City, Ore.)

For actions undertaken in Afghanistan on Aug. 26-Sept. 13, 2006:

Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin Konrad (Winchester, Tenn.)

For actions undertaken in Afghanistan Aug. 7-9, 2005:

Capt. Brandon Griffin (Athens, Ga.)

For actions undertaken in Afghanistan July 25, 2005:

Sgt. 1st Class Larry Hawks (Bowling Green, Ky.)

Schurer, Fiesel, Allison and Reynolds each received additional awards during the ceremony.

The Silver Star Medal is awarded in recognition of a valorous act 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.

--usasoc--
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Old 12-15-2008, 08:18   #52
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Amazing story of Brothers fighting for one another.
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Old 12-15-2008, 10:41   #53
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Video

Here is a link to video of the battle that was excerpted on msnbc:

http://www.breitbart.tv/?p=240643
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Old 12-15-2008, 16:33   #54
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Well done and thank you, gents!
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Old 12-16-2008, 11:49   #55
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Fierce battle above Shok Valley earns Silver Stars

http://news.soc.mil/releases/News%20...081216-01.html

RELEASE NUMBER: 081216-01
DATE POSTED: DECEMBER 16, 2008

Quote:
Fierce battle above Shok Valley earns Silver Stars

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (USASOC News Service, Dec. 16, 2008) -- There are no roads leading into the Shok Valley. A village which stands sentinel over the valley is home to one of the fiercest of the insurgent forces in Afghanistan - the Hezeb Islami al Gulbadin, or HIG.

On April 6, a daring raid into the stronghold by Afghan Commandos and their Special Forces counterparts tested the mettle of the Afghan forces and further forged the bond between them and their SF brothers.

On Dec. 12, Lt. Gen. John F. Mullholland, commander of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, pinned Silver Stars on the chests of 10 of the men involved in the raid and the ensuing six-and-a half-hour-firefight that saw more than 150 insurgents killed.

It was the largest ceremony of its kind since the Vietnam era. But for the members of Team 3336 of the 3rd Special Forces Group, it was never about the medals.

When you ask them to use one word to describe April 6, their words pop, much like the gunfire that rained down on them.

"A nightmare."

"Baptism by fire," said Staff Sgt. Daniel Plants, "it was my first firefight."

"Cliffhanger."

More words followed as the team went back in their minds to that day.

The Mission

The team was assigned to take out high-value targets within the HIG. The insurgent group was entrenched in the valley and was guarded by a number of highly-trained foreign fighters. The sheer number of weapons and amount of ammo used by the insurgents led the team to conclude that they had been stockpiling the weaponry within the fortress-like village since the Russian invasion of the country during the late '80s.

Accompanying the team that day was a group of Afghan Commandos.

"We have such a big rapport with the commandos we've trained," said Staff Sgt. Luis Morales, the team's intelligence sergeant. "They have such a loyalty to us. They try as hard to protect us as we try to protect ourselves."

"We eat, sleep and train with these commandos," said Capt. Kyle Walton, the detachment commander. "We die with them, too. These guys are close friends to us. At the outset of the attack, I lost my interpreter, and we were as close as anyone."

The interpreters hold a special place within the team.

"They are just like a member of the team," said Morales. "One of our interpreters has seen as much combat as any of us. He has six years of combat experience. He's been with six SF teams and been in hundreds of firefights - but he doesn't get the six-month break.

"With our tactical knowledge and their (the commandos) knowledge of the local populace, terrain and customs, we can truly become a force multiplier," said Walton. "That's what SF does. We bring things to the fight that they don't have, such as close air support and weaponry. But in the end, it's an Afghan fight, and we are part of it."

The commandos who accompanied the SF team on the mission have developed something of reputation throughout Afghanistan.

"The Taliban calls them the wolves. When they hear the wolves are coming, they know they are in trouble. The commandos are pretty feared. Everywhere we go, they identify us with the commandos, and the fact that this group of insurgents was prepared to sit and fight us to the death was indicative of an enemy force you don't see every day," said Morales.

One Way In

"Eighty percent of the guys on the ground that day had been in firefights before," said Walton. "We feel fairly comfortable in a firefight anytime."

But that day was different. The team was going into the unknown. The Russians, during their 20-year occupation of the country, never made it into the Shok Valley. To date, no coalition troops had been there. This was a first. To get into the valley, the team had to fly.

"I feel comfortable with my feet on a ground," said Morales. "I don't feel comfortable in the helicopter - we can't control what happens there. But on the ground, we have a plan, we go in and do it, and the rest falls into place.

"We knew this was going to be a difficult mission. We expected there to be a number of insurgents because of the high-value targets we were after, but we really thought the terrain would be the greatest difficulty," explained Walton.

That thought proved correct. As the helicopters settled over the valley, the pilots couldn't set the birds down, so the Soldiers had to jump about 10 feet off the bird. Many of them landed waist-deep in an icy river. With temperatures in the low 30s, the climate immediately began to take its toll.

Then they faced a climb up the mountain.

Walton explained the idea was to go into the village unannounced, with the plan to take the fight to the insurgents in the village. "We didn't want to fight uphill," he said, adding that the village is at an altitude of 10,000 feet.

The team decided to use switchbacks, which were actually terraced farm plots, as a means to get up to the village. The team divided up into three maneuver units, with members of the SF team paired up with about six commandos and their interpreters.

The village itself is situated on a finger off the mountain. The team would have to head up a draw to the village.

"The buildings in the village are built one on top of the other, on top of a slope thousands of feet in the air," said Walton. "So we started the climb. The insurgents waited until the lead element was within a couple hundred meters of the compound before they initiated contact. As soon as the shooting started, we realized that they had their defensive positions dug in, and they were occupying buildings 360 degrees all around us."

The Fight

As soon as the opening salvo was fired, the interpreter standing beside Walton in the command-and-control element was killed. Moments later, Staff Sgt. Dillon Behr was shot in the leg. Behr, a communications sergeant stayed in the fight and sustained another wound before he became unable to continue the fight.

"We knew we needed to regain the initiative, so we started initiating danger-close air runs," said Walton.

Staff Sgt. David Sanders was in the lead assault force.

"I had approximately 10 Commandos with me, and we got into the village before we started receiving fire. We couldn't move any farther forward," he recalled. "Through the radio traffic, we heard some of the team had gotten shot, so we started trying to identify the buildings where the fire was coming from. We hoped to neutralize the threat."

Walton said Sanders was the first person he thought of who might be able to identify where the insurgents were.

"I was standing next to the combat controller, and when we got to a place where we could talk, he called in close air support, and the F-15s rolled in immediately. I knew my guys were up there, and I know that when you call in danger close air, you are probably going to get injured or killed. I called back to Sanders and asked if he was too close. He said, 'Bring it anyway.' Bombs started exploding everywhere. When I called to see if he was still alive, all I could hear him saying was, 'Hit them again.' "

Walton said that it is rare to call in danger-close air even once during a firefight. Throughout the afternoon, the team called it 70 times.

"We did take some casualties from the danger-close air," said Staff Sgt. Seth Howard. "A lot of the commandos got injured from falling debris. The bombs were throwing full trees and boulders at them - they were flying hundreds of meters.

At one point in the battle, when it looked as if the C2 element would be overrun, Sanders called for the bombing to come closer.

"They dropped a 2,000 lb. bomb right on top of our position," said Walton. "Because of the elevation, the bomb blew upward rather than down. It just didn't seem like we had much of a decision. Our guys were wounded, and we couldn't go back the way we came."

"We knew we might get hurt, but we really didn't think about it," said Sanders.

"The insurgents were so dug in so well that even the close air support wasn't enough. It helped, but it was by no means a magic wand," said Howard. "You would think when the bombs start dropping they would stop shooting at you. That's the thought process, and you know it might kill you or somebody else, but when there are so many pieces of hot metal flying all around you constantly, you've got to let it go."

With bombings falling and heavy gunfire coming from every side, the team returned fire. Team members recall going through masses of ammo, in addition to the bombs that were dropped and the rounds the aircraft were firing.

The team's fire was controlled, though, according to Walton.

"Cloud cover was coming in, and there was no certainty that we would be able to get out that night. So we didn't waste our ammo. We really didn't fire unless we had a shot or when we needed to lay suppressive fire to allow people to move."

The insurgents, likewise, were shooting in a controlled manner. The gunfire was heavy, sustained and accurate. Team members recall that even if the bullets weren't kicking up beside them or hitting them, they definitely heard them crack near them. Snipers were during heavy play in the engagement.
cont'd below
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Old 12-16-2008, 11:49   #56
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part II

Quote:
Three-story Implosion

The only break in the battle was when a bomb was dropped on a three-story building. The building exploded outward. "Good guy or bad guy, you're going to stop when you see that," said Morales. "It reminded me of the videos from 9/11 - everything starts flushing at you, debris starts falling - and everything gets darker."

"I was totally in the cloud of black smoke. I couldn't see an inch in front of my face," said Howard.

Plants recalls hearing the call for fire and wanting to see where the bomb was going.

"I was staring at it and saw the building go up," he said. "I remember looking up, and then all of this stuff starting coming down. All I could do was roll up tight and hug the cliff wall."

Sniper Turns Tide

The battle started to turn when Howard, a trained sniper, started picking the insurgents off. Howard was not in the lead element, and he had to fight his way up the mountain to come to the aid of his team.

The fight was not easy. He and the team of commandos he led up the mountain were under intense insurgent fire. They were getting hit with rocket-propelled grenades, small arms and machine-gun fire.

"We knew some of our guys were hurt and that we had to get to them," said Howard.

"We were pinned down," said Walton. "When the fire became so intense, we moved out onto a ledge against the cliff to protect our wounded. What turned the battle was Seth (Howard) and his element."

Howard directed the Afghan commandos to fire on insurgent position so that he could get into place with his sniper rifle and his recoiless rifle.

"They had been hunting us, and now they were getting hunted, too," said Walton. "We had been trying to return fire, but we couldn't find them. They were firing in a very disciplined manner. They were not hanging out windows or running at us."

As Howard and his element engaged the enemy, Walton knew time was running out. Reports from the air said more insurgents were moving in their direction. Everyone on the team had sustained some sort of injury, four of them critical, and the commandos had their share of injuries, as well.

"Everyone kept fighting, but there was a window closing on us," said Walton. "We knew we had to get out."

One Way Out

"Our higher command told us we had to get out of there," said Walton. "The weather conditions were closing in, and the window to be on the ground was rapidly closing. Most of the objective was gone at that point, but our casualties were mounting - we were in a mass-casualty scenario at that point - and they became our priority. We never thought of retreating. That was never an option."

"The weather was deciding factor," continued Howard. "When the weather rolled in we could be stuck there at least overnight, possibly for days. They couldn't fly in to get us, and we would have been stranded in completely hostile territory. That was not a plan for success, especially with the pilots observing another 200 insurgents moving in on us."

With their backs literally against a wall, and recognizing that they couldn't go down the same way they came up - the switchbacks they had climbed up were the primary focus of the insurgent fire - they began assessing another route for exfil.

Final Cliff-hanger

"We knew we couldn't go back the way we came, so our only option was going down the cliff," said Walton.

Had the team been healthy, that would have been a difficult scenario. But with the number of wounded and the fire raining down, it seemed impossible. But Walton knew he had to take the chance.

"We were completely pinned down. There was intense fire all around us. We couldn't leave the casualties. We were prepared to sit there and die with them, but we decided we were going to get them out of there," he said.

Sanders made the first climb down the mountain by himself. When he climbed back up the sheer face of the cliff, Walton had one question, "Do you think we can make it down?"

Sanders' reply put the climb in perspective, "Does it matter if they have broken necks or backs?"

"My question was will they live," said Walton. With Sanders' assurance that they would live, the team began the treacherous climb.

Master Sgt. Scott Ford, the team sergeant, set up the medevac and organized the less seriously wounded to carry the more critically injured down. While organizing the commandos, Ford was shot in the chest plate by sniper fire. He immediately got to his feet and continued to lay down suppressive fire. One of the insurgent snipers had Ford in his sights, and he shot him in the upper left arm, nearly severing it. With a tourniquet around his arm, Ford climbed down the mountain and continued to organize the medevac.

Morales said that the team made its way down the cliff hanging onto branches and rocks. Near the bottom of the cliff, most made a 20-foot drop. I remember seeing John (Walding) carrying his leg down. (Walding's leg had been amputed by sniper fire.)"

As the wounded made their way down the cliff, Howard, Walton and Spec. Michael Carter, a combat cameraman assigned to the unit, remained behind to lay down suppressive fire and retrieve equipment.

"There were a lot of guns around where everybody had been shot," said Howard. "It kind of became an issue that there were too many guns up there, and we didn't want to leave them in enemy hands."

Carter ran through a hail of fire to retrieve guns and other equipment. His own cameras had been shot up during the initial hours of the battle. He gathered equipment and began throwing it off the cliff, while Howard continued to pick off enemy combatants.

"The stars really aligned," said Walton. "Bullets were coming down from the side and behinds us, and we could hear guys yelling above us. An element that came to reinforce the team that was on the ground stepped out into the open and started firing and gave us the chance to get out. Seth was crazy enough to stay up there and cover us while we made the climb down."

Alone, with less than a magazine of ammunition left, Howard covered his team as they made their way down, and only after they were safe, did he leave the mountain.

"We didn't go into this mission hoping to make history. For us, it was just a regular mission - just like the one we had done the week before. Our goal is never to get into a fight, we'd rather sit down and drink some chai," said Walton. "We were hoping this mission would be the same, but we got into a big fight, and some of us got hit while trying to save each other. That's what we do."

The team as a whole is looking forward to returning to Afghanistan to continue its mission with the commandos.

"We think we sent a pretty big message to the insurgents. We let them know that we could penetrate their comfort zone. We told them there's nowhere you are safe that we aren't willing to come in and go after you," concluded Walton.

--usasoc--
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Old 12-16-2008, 13:57   #57
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My Beret is off to you fellas!

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Old 12-18-2008, 21:23   #58
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Capt. Kent Solheim (one of the silver star recipients) is currently my commanding officer, those of us that have had the honor of speaking with him 1 on 1 know his true story. It's amazing to hear from his point of view what really happened. He is by far the man who holds the most of my respect. He is still paying for the actions that led to his silver star and you would never know it by his actions. The way he is still more than willing to help anyone who is under his command is simply amazing. I ask you all to keep him in your prayers, for there is a chance some of the wounds he recieved will be unhealable.
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Old 12-19-2008, 08:37   #59
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local newspaper article

FYI- Our local newspaper did a story on our local hero:

http://www.hcnonline.com/articles/20...s/star1217.txt

‘Brave men of the Green Berets’

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. John Wayne Walding of Groesbeck, Texas, left, was one of 10 Special Forces soldiers awarded the Silver Star for bravery for his role in an Afghanistan combat mission that cost him his leg. Walding has family members in Montgomery County.
By Brad Meyer
Published: 12.17.08
A Special Forces soldier with ties to Montgomery County who lost his leg during an intense seven-hour battle in northeast Afghanistan has been awarded the Silver Star for bravery – and has every intention of returning to combat duty.

Staff Sgt. John Wayne Walding of Groesbeck, Texas, was one of 10 soldiers from Operational Detachment Alpha 3336 of the 3rd Special Forces Group to be awarded the Silver Star – the military’s third-highest honor for valor and bravery in combat – in ceremonies that took place Friday at Ft. Bragg, N.C.

“John has more than a dozen aunts, uncles and cousins in Montgomery County and we’re all incredibly proud of him,” said Cindy Adams of Conroe. “We always kidded him about being named after the actor John Wayne, but he lived up to the image and reputation.”

Walding was part of a 12-man Special Forces team air dropped on a remote mountain in a desolate area of Afghanistan on April 6. Within minutes of being deployed, the commandos found the insurgent stronghold was heavily protected by as many as 200 defenders, and a fierce firefight began.

Two Afghan commandos were killed and several of the American troops were injured, including Walding, whose leg was nearly torn from his body by enemy fire. He literally tied his ankle to his thigh, he said, to prevent the damaged appendage from “flopping around.”

Walding tightened a tourniquet around his wounded leg until he saw the blood stop flowing.

Struggling with his wound in the chaos of battle, Walding attempted to inject his leg with morphine but injected the painkiller into his thumb by accident.

“That got quite a few laughs in spite of everything going on,” he said. “There were bullets flying all around, but it still struck the guys as funny.”

After more than six hours of combat, including heavy air support to keep the commandos from being overrun, the Special Forces team was able to reach an extraction point where they could by evacuated by military helicopters.

Still recovering from his wounds and the loss of his leg, Walding is committed to continuing with Special Forces.

“I’m anxious to get back to active duty,” he said. “I’m too stubborn to be disabled. If I can demonstrate readiness, my goal is get back to combat status.”

Patriotism and the connection to his cinematic namesake go hand in hand for Walding. He was born on the Fourth of July and takes the jokes about being named for movie legend John Wayne seriously.

“I’ve seen all 162 of his films,” he said. “When I graduated Special Forces training, one of the best gifts I got was a DVD of ‘The Green Berets.’”

Press coverage of Friday’s Silver Star ceremony has been significant, since it is the highest number of awards given to a Special Forces group for a single engagement since the Vietnam War. Walding appreciates the honor, but is quick to point out the commandos were on a military assignment, not out to win medals.

“You’re there to do a job and look out for your buddies,” he said. “There’s no time to think about what someone else is going to think.”

Fewer than 1 percent of U.S. Army soldiers are able to achieve Special Forces status, according to Walding. While he’s proud of his Green Beret status, he considers his wife Amy and children, Sam, 3, and Emma, 4, to have the harder job.

“It’s hard being the family of a Special Forces soldier,” he said. “But even after all that has happened, Amy still supports me and my goal of returning to active service.

“I just couldn’t ask for more.”




Copyright © 2008 - Houston Community Newspapers Online
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Old 12-19-2008, 22:37   #60
JonnySixShooter
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
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I went through the course with Kyle Walton... I'd be hard pressed to think of a better dude to be on that cliff that day.

Good work guys.
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