PFC Monica Lin Brown became the first woman in Afghanistan, and only the second woman since WW II, to receive the Silver Star.
Although all Silver Star citations are exceptional, Captain Christopher Cordova's write up is both impressive and inspiring.
SSG Jason Fetty's actions saved a crowd, including dignitaries, from an attacker wearing a suicide belt.
* Denotes Posthumous Award
First Lieutenant, U.S. Army
Operational Detachment Alpha 2214, Special Operations Task Force 202
Date of Action: 17 December 2009
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by an act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to First Lieutenant Tom Bozzay, United States Army, for gallantry in action on 17 December 2009, while assigned as a Physician’s Assistant attached to Operational Detachment-Alpha 2214, Special Operations Task Force-2092, Baghram Airfield in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. While under attack from a large enemy force, First Lieutenant Bozzay distinguished himself by moving 200 meters under fire to the locations where five members of the unit were seriously injured, to render medical care. With complete disregard for his own personal safety, First Lieutenant Bozzay assessed and began to treat the wounded, systematically moving them one by one to positions of greater safety while the battle ensued around them. He repeatedly used his body to shield wounded comrades from incoming mortar and machine gun fire. His quick thinking and selfless actions ensured that all of the injured unit members survived. First Lieutenant Bozzay's actions contributed to saving the lives of his injured teammates. First Lieutenant Bozzay's actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, Special Operations Command Central and the United States Army.
General Order: Permanent Order 263-24, dtd 20 September 2011
BROWN, MONICA LIN ;
PFC, U.S Army
4th Squadron, 73d Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division
Date of Action: 25 April 2007
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by an act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Specialist [then Private First Class] Monica Lin Brown, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism while serving as a Combat Medic with the 4th Squadron, 73d Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82d Airborne Division, in action on 25 April 2007. On that date, 2d Platoon, Charlie Troop, 4th Squadron, 73d Cavalry Regiment, was on a combat patrol moving to Jani Khel, Afghanistan, for a leader engagement with the village elders. The element consisted of five vehicles: four M1151 Uparmored HMMWV's (UAH) and one Afghan National Army (ANA) Ford Ranger. They were in a column formation moving north along Route VIPER. In the vicinity of 42S VA263021 the trail vehicle, C23, struck a pressure plate IED on the driver's side rear tire, which ignited the fuel tank and fuel cans mounted on the rear of the vehicle. The explosion of the fuel tank and cans engulfed the vehicle in an intense fireball. This initiated a planned ambush which commenced after the explosion. The patrol began to take small arms fire from the direction of a kholat to the east, approximately 100 meters away. The small arms fire was impacting around the lead vehicle which was 300 meters north of the IED site. The small arms fire began to concentrate on the IED site as the Platoon Medic, Private First Class Brown, moved on foot to evaluate the casualties. She was exposed to the small arms fire until the maneuver element could swing around and begin suppressing the enemy as she treated the wounded Soldiers. After making an initial assessment and treating in order of severity, she moved the casualties with the aid and direction of the Platoon Sergeant, into the wadi the engulfed vehicle was hanging over. The enemy fighters then engaged the patrol with mortar fire. Private First Class Brown threw her own body over the casualties to shield them as the mortars were impacting 75 to 100 meters away. Approximately 15 mortars impacted within close range of the casualties as Private First Class Brown continued treatment. Private First Class Brown continued treatment in the wadi approximately 15 meters from the burning vehicle, at which time the onboard 60-mm. mortar, 5.56-mm. ammunition, and 40-mm. grenade rounds on board began to explode. Again disregarding her own safety, Private First Class Brown shielded the casualties with her own body as large chunks of shrapnel and 5.56-mm. rounds began flying through the air from the burning vehicle. The patrol leader arrived on site and found it incredible she was still alive and treating the casualties amidst the extremely dangerous conditions she was operating under. Given the hazards to Private First Class Brown, the platoon sergeant used the ANA Ranger to move the wounded Soldiers and Private First Class Brown to a more protected position. As the truck began driving down the wadi, a large 60-mm. mortar explosion occurred sending shrapnel flying all around where Private First Class Brown had been treating casualties. The platoon leader was dragged by the ANA truck with the casualties as the explosions became incredibly intense and the platoon sergeant moved Private First Class Brown to a more protected position to continue treatment. Private First Class Brown continued treatment of the two wounded Soldiers at the new site as enemy small arms fire began to impact around the new position. Private First Class Brown continued treatment of the casualties as the platoon returned fire in close vicinity of her. She shielded the wounded from falling brass and enemy fire once again, ensuring the casualties were stabilized and ready for MEDEVAC. Specialist Brown's heroic actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of military service, reflecting great credit upon herself, the 82d Airborne Division, and the United States Army.
General Orders: Presented at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, by Vice President Dick Cheney, on March 21, 2008.
Home of record: Lake Jackson, Texas
*BYRD, JORDAN M.
Private First Class, U.S. Army
A Company, 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division
Date of Action: 13 October 2010
Private First Class Jordan M. Byrd, United States Army, distinguished himself through heroism and gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States as a Combat Medic for 4th Platoon, Able Company, 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). Without regard to his own personal safety, PFC Byrd maneuvered across 30 meters of open ground under fire to provide medical aid and shield a wounded comrade. On 13 October 2010, PFC Byrd and his platoon were conducting an air assault in Kalatar, Yahya Khel District, Paktika Province, Afghansistan as part of Operation TALASHI KALATAR, a company cordon and search when their lead element came under intense enemy small arms fire. PFC Byrd and his platoon were tasked with establishing the outer cordon, requiring them to establish security in one of the most hostile areas in the Battalion’s area of operations. During the initial barrage, SPC _____ was struck in the leg with small arms fire. One of the platoon’s sections immediately returned fire to suppress the enemy and gain fire superiority. PFC Byrd, with total disregard for his own safety, ran through the enemy kill zone, crossing approximately 30 meters of open terrain with rounds impacting around him to provide medical treatment on SPC S_____. Despite accurate enemy sniper, AK-47, PKM, RPG and mortar fire, PFC Byrd continued the treatment of the injured Soldier, putting himself between the enemy fire and the casualty in order to provide life saving treatment to the Soldier. As 4th Platoon’s section exchanged fire, the enemy began to employ 82mm mortars which impacted within 75 meters of their location. The accuracy and volume of enemy fire coupled with the lack of cover and concealment pinned down the section and preventing it from reaching PFC Byrd and SPC S_____. PVC Byrd shielded the casualty despite the accuracy and volume of enemy fire and placed a tourniquet on SPC S_____’s wounded leg which proved to be life saving. After several minutes of being exposed, PFC Byrd was expertly working to stop the arterial bleeding in SPC S_____’s leg when he was fatally wounded. PFC Byrd’s immediate medical attention to SPC S_____ likely saved his life. Despite accurate enemy fire, he displayed selfless service and unquestionable gallantry crossing 30 meters of open terrain despite heavy contact in order to apply life saving medical care on a fellow Soldier while using his own body as a shield. PFC Byrd inspired his fellow Soldiers through his heroic and selfless act and is fully deserving of the Silver Star for his gallantry under fire. Private First Class Byrd’s actions are in keeping with the finest military traditions and reflect distinct credit upon himself, this Command, and the United States Army.
Permanent Order #342-030, HQ, USFOR-A
Home of Record: Grantsville, UT
Specialist, U.S. Army
D Company, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st BCT, 101st Airborne Division
Date of Action: 12 November 2010
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by an act of July 25, 1963), takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Specialist Shannon Chihuahua, United States Army, for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States during combat operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, on 12 November 2010. Specialist Chihuahua distinguished himself for exceptionally valorous actions while serving as a platoon medic for 3rd Platoon, Delta Company, 1-327th Regiment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom X-XL. Specialist Chihuahua demonstrated the highest standards of performance and valor, placing his own safety second to that of his fellow Soldiers. His selfless actions and disregard for personal safety reflects great credit upon him, Task Force Bulldog, Task Force Bastogne, the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), and the United States Army.
Permanent Order: 065-038
Home of Record: Thomasville, Georgia
SGT, U.S. Army
1st Battalion, 206th Field Artillery Regiment, 39th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division
Date of Action: 3 October 2004
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by an act of July 25, 1963), takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Sergeant Russell L. Collier, United States Army, for gallantry in actions against an enemy of the United States during combat operations in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, on 3 October 2004. Sergeant Russell Collier distinguished himself by gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States while serving as a Medical Aidman attached to Battery A, 1st Battalion, 103d Field Artillery Brigade, attached to the 1st Battalion, 206th Field Artillery Regiment, 39th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, in the vicinity of Taji, Iraq, on 3 October 2004. On that date Sergeant Collier was traveling with the four howitzer section for the day along with another howitzer section from Battery A, 1st Battalion, 103d Field Artillery Brigade, and an Iraqi National Guard Platoon. They were conducting traffic control points, route security and area reconnaissance along the Tigris River near the village of Al Mazurka, Taji, Iraq. While traveling on a road south of Camp Taji, the patrol came under small arms fire from the West. The Iraqi National Guard soldiers pursued the potential shooter as he ran east into a local housing area. The howitzer section established over-watching crew-served weapons positions with their gun trucks, while five Iraqi National Guard soldiers and four U.S. soldiers maneuvered to find the shooter. Sergeant Collier accompanied the fire team when the section came under significant direct fire contact. They continued fire and maneuver towards the enemy crew-served weapon position and Sergeant Collier waited his turn as the soldiers conducted buddy team maneuvers around the berm that was providing cover and concealment for the team. During this fire and maneuver, the section chief was mortally wounded and Sergeant Collier gave his M-4 to another soldier, instructed him to get his aid bag and left the protection provided by the berm to provide immediate first aid. Sergeant Russell Collier made the ultimate sacrifice for his fellow soldier and for his country by exposing himself to hostile direct fire in an attempt to render first aid and to save the life of one of his comrades in arms. His unselfish actions under direct enemy fire served to inspire all who observed him and upheld the highest traditions of the Armed Forces. Sergeant Collier brings great credit upon himself, the 1st Cavalry Division, Multi-National Corps Iraq, and the United States Army.
Home of record: Harrison, Arkansas
CONN, JEFFREY A.
Specialist, U.S. Army
1st Platoon, Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment
Date of Actions: 8 – 16 October 2011
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, has awarded The Silver Star to Specialist Jeffrey A. Conn, Bravo Company, Task force No Fear for gallantry in action from 8 October 2011 to 16 October 2011. Specialist Jeffrey A. Conn, United States Army, distinguished himself in multiple valorous acts during combat operations in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, while serving as a Platoon Medic in 1st Platoon, Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment (The Wolfhounds), Combined Joint Task Force 1, from 8 October 2011 to 16 October 2011 in defense of Observation Post (OP) Shal during Operation Rugged Sarak. SPC Conn voluntarily risked his life repeatedly over nine days, continually exposing himself to heavy machine gun fire, Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) fire, Small Arms Fire (SAF) and Indirect Fire (IDF) in order to treat casualties, resupply ammunition, relay reports, adjust fire missions and defend his platoon patrol base from multiple attacks from a determined and fanatical enemy. 11 October 2011, SPC Conn under heavy Recoilless Rifle, RPG and SAF defended the southern flank of his lightly armed and undermanned position, repelling a daring nighttime enemy attack intent on overrunning his patrol base. 12 October 2011, SPC Conn under heavy RPG and heavy machine gun fire led his section against a reconsolidated and numerically superior force as the enemy massed against the patrol base in a heavy and coordinated night assault. 13 October 2011, SPC Conn under heavy machine gun, RPG, IDF and sniper fire led his aid and litter team in establishing a Casualty Collection Point (CCP), successfully stabilizing one expectant casualty. Early evening, 13 October 2011, SPC Conn sustained the life of a flight medic who suffered massive head trauma from a UH-60 rotor blade strike and evacuated nine Coalition Forces (CF) casualties. 14 October 2011, SPC Conn, under enemy sniper and heavy machine gun fire, while running from fighting position to fighting position rendering treatment, returned to the southern flank in order to stave off an enemy attack by ten suicide fighters attempting to penetrate the southern flank of the OP. During Operation Rugged Sarak, Bravo Company seized key terrain in Asmar District, Kunar Province, Afghanistan, and established a new ANA outpost to deny insurgents one of their most critical supply routes in northeastern Afghanistan. For years, insurgents had exploited an absence of security forces to build a safe haven allowing the enemy to move freely from Pakistan into broader Afghanistan. Shal Mountain controls the supply route at the Kunar River. Visible from Combat Outpost (COP) Monti, which is seven kilometers to the south and rising 1100 feet from the valley floor, Shal Mountain dominates the enemy’s supply running east to west inside Shal Valley. Furthermore, the mountain overlooks Main Supply Route (MSR) California, an improved road which parallels the Kunar River running north to south. MSR California is the only road that connects Northern Kunar to the provincial capital, Asadabad. Likewise, Forward Operating Base (FOB) Bostick relies solely on MSR California for resupply from main logistics nodes in the south. During years of brigade resupply operations, insurgents consistently used Shal Mountain as a lethal battle position to attack ANA and American units on MSR California. During one of these large-scale resupply operations in July 2011, insurgents from Shal and Dab Valleys killed two Soldiers from First Platoon, Bravo Company, in a complex ambush. Bravo Company combined with three ANA companies seized Shal Mountain on 8 October 2011, and the most difficult phase of the operation extended until 16 October as the company consolidated and built a new Afghan outpost. During a week of brutal fighting, all three platoons of Bravo Company alongside fourth Platoon, Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, defeated a numerically superior insurgent force. While Second and Third Platoon, Bravo Company, controlled battle positions on MSR California, First Platoon held the decisive terrain of Shal Mountain. On 12 October 2011, Fourth Platoon, Delta Company reinforced a strongpoint to secure the western, downhill flank of Shal Mountain. Throughout the battle, several hundred fighters simultaneously attacked all of Bravo Company’s positions as they maneuvered against First Platoon’s strongpoint. During the siege, the enemy coordinated heavy machine guns (HMGS), recoilless rifles, rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), mortars, and suicide attackers. The enemy proved his determination as he fired upon helicopters and charged the wire with nothing but explosives in backpacks. Through the combined efforts of four infantry platoons, Bravo Company decisively defeated a relentless enemy with over 115 confirmed enemy killed-in-actions. On top of Shal Mountain, First Platoon and their Afghan partners tenaciously defended their fighting positions and routed multiple overrun attempts with danger close artillery, close combat aviation (CCA), close air support (CAS), hand grenades, claymores, and accurate direct fire. The coordination of final protective lines and the integration of Afghan partners proved critical as First Platoon destroyed enemy assault squads within 50 feet of their perimeter in both day and night overrun attempts. The members of First Platoon faced a tough, determined and well led insurgent force, and their individual discipline, selfless leadership, and valorous actions ensured the success of Afghan and American forces in Kunar Province. Late evening, 11 October 2011, a 25 man enemy assault element maneuvered through dead space as they closed within five meters of the OP’s perimeter. The enemy initiated with heavy machine gun fire from 12 separate crew served weapons teams across the valley hidden in dense micro terrain pinning down the entire OP. The northern flank came under heavy RPG fire and SAF as the enemy main effort attacked the southern flank. Without hesitation, SPC Conn climbed on the HESCO barrier in plain view of the enemy assault element and started to engage the enemy fighters with a barrage of fragmentation grenades, initiated claymores and suppressed the enemy as the OP perimeter was ordered to collapse into their subsequent fighting positions. Still under enemy direct fire, SPC Conn identified RPG strikes on the MK-19 automatic grenade launcher position and ran into the kill zone in order to check for casualties as danger close munitions exploded around the OP perimeter. SPC Conn’s valor as a leader under direct enemy contact allowed his platoon to stave off a surprise attack and saved the lives of 30 US and Afghan Soldiers. Late evening, 12 October 2011, an enemy assault element composed of 30 Taliban fighters attacked the OP as eight heavy machine gun positions laid cover fire from the mountains across the valley to the east. The enemy initiated with RPGs and SAF that impacted within inches of SPC Conn, as heavy machine gun fire sent armor piercing .50 caliber rounds through HESCO barriers and sandbags suppressing the platoon Command and Control (C2) position. SPC Conn voluntarily exposed himself to enemy heavy machine gun fire as he ran to the platoon C2 cell in order to take control of the unmanned radio and send crucial reports to higher headquarters. SPC Conn continued relaying reports to higher headquarters until he identified enemy fighters maneuvering in the low ground to the southeast and transitioned to the adjacent 60mm mortar system in order to engage the Taliban fighters with 60mm direct fire. SPC Conn’s fearless leadership under heavy enemy contact saved the lives of his platoon and routed the enemy attack, killing 12 Taliban fighters. Early afternoon, 13 October 2011, OP Shal came under the heaviest and most coordinated attack of the battle. Enemy assault elements staged in dead space 100 meters away as heavy machine gun fire pinned down every fighting position with armor piercing .50 caliber rounds that tore through HESCO barriers and sandbags. The enemy set in 12 separate heavy crew served weapon systems hidden in the terrain of the mountains to the north, east and south across the valley floor. Two 82mm mortar rounds impacted on the northern flank’s fighting position, rendering the position combat ineffective and severely wounding five US and three ANA Soldiers. With total disregard for his personal safety SPC Conn ran the length of the OP, exposed to the heavy machine gun fire and led his aid and litter team into the kill zone and quickly stabilized on expectant ANA casualty. Emboldened by the devastating success of the strike, the enemy focused fires onto the northern flank’s fighting position. SPC Conn remained in the kill zone as he checked all eight casualties, engaged with fragmentation grenades, threw smoke for concealment and staged casualties for transport. SPC Conn’s expert leadership and care under fire saved the life of one expectant ANA casualty. The enemy attack continued unabated as heavy machine gun fire continued to target the northern flank’s fighting position. The enemy had bracketed the OP with 82mm mortar rounds and heavy machine gun fire continued to reduce the OP’s fighting positions with armor piercing .50 caliber rounds, forcing the casualties to be moved to the CCP. With total disregard for his own safety, SPC Conn led his aid and litter team in the dash across the length of the OP, exposed to machine gun fire, placing the expectant casualty in the CCP. Enemy fires reduced the fortification of the CCP providing little to no cover for SPC Conn as he continued to render treatment by applying intravenous (IV) lines, oxygen, redressing bandages, rechecking all tourniquets and sending updates to the platoon Radio Telephone Operator (RTO) for the nine-line Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC) request. SPC Conn’s valorous action under the enemy attacks saved the lives of all nine casualties and allowed the platoon to refortify the northern flank’s security, which staved off the enemy attack. Late evening, 13 October 2011, OP Shal remained in contact as snipers targeted the slightest movement inside the OP, sending deadly accurate rounds into HASCO barriers. SPC Conn diagnosed his platoon casualties under deadly accurate sniper fire and discovered every Soldier now displayed signs of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) from devastating enemy attack. After landing on the Helicopter Landing Zone (HLZ), the flight medic escorted the casualties to the UH-60 helicopter. As the flight medic approached the helicopter from the twelve o’clock position he was hit by the rotor blade, throwing himself and five casualties to the ground. Without hesitation, SPC Conn ran onto the HLZ and identified SSG _____, who suffered a massive head wound. SPC Conn quickly began stabilizing his new casualty with a spinal stabilization board and ordered his aid and litter team to report to his position. SPC Conn, unaware if the bird would return and with the HLZ unsecure, moved the casualty into the OP and began treatment with what little life saving equipment remained. His quick reaction and disregard for his own safety gave SSG _____ the chance to fight for his life as he was successfully resuscitated on three separate occasions and evacuated 30 minutes later. Mid-day, 14 October 2011, the enemy launched a daring attack with 10 suicide fighters, who charged the southeastern flank of the OP as sniper and heavy machine gun positions covered their attack. SPC Conn came under heavy machine gun fire and was pinned down as .50 caliber armor-piercing rounds were landing inside his fighting position. SPC Conn, without orders or hesitation, ran exposed through the enemy heavy machine gun fire from fighting position to fighting position checking every Soldier in the platoon, issued minor aid and returned to the C2 position in order to support the Mortar Firing Pit (MFP). SPC Conn remained in plain view of an enemy sniper as he hung 60mm mortar rounds, relayed Soldier status reports to his Platoon Sergeant and threw a salvo of fragmentation grenades, routing the enemy assault. His unwavering valor under heavy machine gun fire allowed his platoon to kill all 10 suicide fighters and kept his battered platoon together after sustaining an almost overwhelming amount of combat related injuries. SPC Conn’s courage under fire as a Platoon Medic in Bravo Company saved the lives of American and Afghan Soldiers. SPC Conn’s valor and commitment to his platoon was decisive in helping destroy and determined and fanatical enemy force, acting as the link between individual Soldiers and their command. SPC Conn voluntarily risked his life on multiple occasions, moving between fighting positions completely exposed while under heavy machine gun fire in order to treat and evacuated US and ANA casualties. His valorous actions directly led to the success of his platoon’s mission as the Regional Command East Main Effort. His actions reflect great credit upon himself, the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, Combined Joint Task Force 1, and the United States Army.
General Order: Permanent Order number 081-104, United States Forces Afghanistan
CORDOVA, CHRISTOPHER B.
CPT, U.S. Army
Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3d Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
Date of Action: 3 October 2009
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by an act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Captain Christopher B. Cordova, United States Army, for gallantry in actions against an enemy of the United States during combat operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, on 3 October 2009. At 0600 on 3 October 2009, Combat Outpost (COP) Keating and Observation Post (OP) Fritsche, Kamdesh District, Nuristan Province, Afghanistan, came under complex attack by an enemy force estimated at 400 fighters. The fighters occupied the high ground on all four sides of the COP and initiated the attack with concentrated fire from B10 recoilless rifles, RPGs, DSHKAs, mortars, and small arms fire (SAF). During the first three hours of the attack, mortar rounds impacted on the COP and OP every 15 seconds. All six of the troop's M1151 HMMWVs sustained direct hits from RPGs, half of which withstood as many as eight RPGs each. Within the first several minutes of the battle, mortar rounds hit the main generator on the COP, eliminating power and electricity to most of the camp, including the troop aid station. Enemy mortar rounds and RPGs pinned down the troop mortars at COP Keating and OP Fritsche, limiting indirect fire assets to the Soldiers in the fight. In conjunction with the Afghan National Army (ANA) collapsing their positions, Taliban fighters breached the perimeter of COP Keating and stormed the outpost, forcing the American Soldiers to fight on an extremely congested battlefield. As the fighting continued, enemy rounds set many buildings ablaze, eventually setting fire to and destroying close to 70% of COP Keating. As a result, the troop was forced to abandon its tactical operations center (TOC) and aid station in order to continue operations. The outpost's helicopter landing zone was controlled by enemy forces, which kept medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) aircraft from evacuating the numerous casualties. Throughout the 12-hour battle, as well as during the four days of enemy contact that followed, American Forces killed over 100 Taliban fighters and injured at least 80 more. Despite the resounding tactical success against a numerically superior enemy, eight Americans and two ANA Soldiers died and an additional 43 American and Afghan forces were injured. Communications were downgraded to only tactical satellite (TACSAT), battle positions ran out of ammunition due to a lack of covered resupply routes, enemy forces temporarily controlled the ammunition supply point (ASP) and the helicopter landing zone (HLZ), indirect fire assets were pinned down, the perimeter was breached, the COP was in flames, and the troop was sustaining multiple casualties. Throughout this devastating attack, Captain Christopher B. Cordova, the Squadron Physician Assistant and COP Keating's senior medical professional, acted heroically under heavy enemy fire by orchestrating the most essential supporting operations on COP Keating; that is, maintaining the troop aid station and its ability to provide lifesaving medical care to the Soldiers. CPT Cordova's calm demeanor and focus in the midst of mayhem inspired his Soldiers. He used his technical expertise to manage mass casualties (MASCAL) during the deadliest attack on American forces in more than a year in the Global War on Terror. The aid station served as a portion of the outpost's outer perimeter, and on 3 October 2009, it sustained several direct hits from RPGs, mortars, and SAF. Throughout the day-long engagement with the enemy, CPT Cordova operated with the skill of a trauma surgeon, performing successful life-sustaining operations that only the most confident and skilled medical professionals have studied. Within the first few minutes of the attack, Private First Class K**** T****** was struck and killed by enemy fire. Knowing that more casualties were imminent, CPT Cordova began executing the MASCAL reaction plan he created and rehearsed with his staff during the months leading up to 3 October. While preparing the aid station, Sergeant J***** K*** was hit by an enemy RPG. CPT Cordova threw an aid bag to SSG Courville, the aid station NCOIC, and instructed him to provide initial treatment to SGT K*** and evacuate him to the aid station. Within minutes of SSG Courville's departure, an RPG exploded at the door of the aid station, causing shrapnel wounds to two of his medics, SGT H**** and SPC F****, with a more serious injury to SPC S****. After ensuring that his Soldiers were conscious and safe, CPT Cordova focused on the final coordination for the MASCAL while he simultaneously directed SGT H**** to treat SPC S****. Immediately upon SGT K***'s arrival, CPT Cordova determined his prognosis was poor due to profuse bleeding from the skull, so he coordinated with the medics to control the bleeding. The enemy contact outside continued as a wall of SAF bounced off the exterior of the building, but CPT Cordova remained focused. While attempting to resuscitate SGT K***, five wounded ANA Soldiers arrived to the aid station and CPT Cordova directed SGT H**** and SPC F**** to treat them. Within a matter of minutes, SPC S**** was brought into the Aid Station with a gunshot wound (GSW) to his chest and no pulse or heart sounds. CPT Cordova continued to manage the flood of casualties in the aid station, pronouncing SPC S****’s time of death at 0630 hours and placing him in the expectant area underneath a body bag. After concluding that their efforts to resuscitate SGT K*** were unsuccessful, CPT Cordova pronounced his time of death at 0645 and placed him inside a body bag next to SPC S****'s body. Despite the fact that CPT Cordova had been attached to B Troop for six months and thought of the Soldiers as his own, he maintained a clear head as a focused professional to provide necessary care to the remaining casualties.
Upon the arrival of three additional US casualties and two ANA casualties, CPT Cordova was now managing medical care for five American and seven Afghan casualties, and he was treating shrapnel wounds to the arms, legs, backs, and faces of six Soldiers, and eye injuries, chest and abdominal wounds, head lacerations, and broken legs for five others. During this time, CPT Cordova led his medics in treatment and gave close oversight to the most critical patients, enabling the most effective use of the resources available. Meanwhile mortar rounds continued to impact on the small COP, shaking the building while CPT Cordova methodically treated the wounded. SPC G******** arrived to the aid station with SPC G******'s body. After noticing copious amounts of blood in the Soldier’s helmet, along with a penetrating head wound, CPT Cordova attempted to detect heart sounds and a pulse, but found neither. While CPT Cordova pronounced SPC G******’s time of death at 1030, placing him with the others in the expectant area, he remained calm, providing a sense of security and confidence to his men who were feverishly treating the wounded. Throughout the previous four hours, the COP, including the aid station, continued to receive mortar and small arms fire, but CPT Cordova never broke his concentration from the priorities at hand. Shortly after, another US casualty, SPC D********, arrived with a GSW to his upper left arm. After treating the wounds and calming the Soldier, CPT Cordova placed him in the priority evacuation category. While providing treatment to SPC D********, CPT Cordova received radio traffic that the enemy had broken through the wire and were on the COP. CPT Cordova determined that all casualties had received initial lifesaving measures and continued to monitor the patients while he formulated an improved security plan for the aid station. Understanding the necessity of 360 degree security, CPT Cordova ordered SPC F**** to secure the front door and SGT M******** to secure the back door. Soon after, an additional ANA casualty was brought to the aid station with profuse bleeding from the knee, so CPT Cordova and the available medics applied a tourniquet and treated him with a pain-reliever. During the few hours that followed, no enemy attempted to breach the aid station, but because of CPT Cordova’s quick thinking, the Soldiers inside remained calm and collected while gun battles and RPG explosions continued outside.
In preparation for the incoming litter patient, CPT Cordova reorganized the crowded aid station, directing the movement of the two ANA litter patients to the overflow area. CPT Cordova used great foresight months earlier by organizing and reinforcing the overflow area with sandbags, which proved to be invaluable during the MASCAL. Throughout the day, CPT Cordova exposed himself to enemy fire to check on the Soldiers in the overflow area, disregarding the enemy mortars and RPGs that were impacting on the COP. Around 1200 hours, CPT Cordova was informed that PFC M*** had been secured from a gun truck. It was reported that he had serious injuries that occurred at approximately 0630, but no one was able to evacuate him because of overwhelming enemy fire. When PFC M*** was finally delivered to the aid station by a team of exhausted Soldiers, he had penetrating shrapnel wounds to his lower left abdomen and left pelvic region, shrapnel and a GSW to his left upper thigh and a tourniquet on the thigh to control the bleeding. There were no pulses in his upper or lower extremities, and his level of consciousness was diminished. Enemy sniper rounds continued to penetrate the COP, and RPG explosions seemed to never end, but the physician assistant continued to work on his casualty with intense concentration. After treating the Soldier for several minutes CPT Cordova confirmed with the ground commander that a MEDEVAC would not be available any earlier than 1930. As if the MASCAL was not enough to manage, a fire that had originated on the eastern side of the COP was now spreading to 3rd Platoon’s barracks, the DFAC, the overflow barracks, and the TOC, which was located three meters from the aid station. Fearing that the aid station would catch fire, CPT Cordova quickly reorganized the medical facility and ordered the movement of all ANA ambulatory patients to the Afghan Security Guard building. Concurrently, he coordinated for litter teams to be on standby to evacuate the three litter patients. As the building was evacuated, B Troop Soldiers cut down a tree and camouflage netting, ultimately preventing the aid station from catching fire. After exposing himself to enemy fire to confirm the aid station was not in danger of catching fire, CPT Cordova determined that PFC M***’s vital signs had not improved and his mental status was diminishing. PFC M*** had lost a significant amount of blood, and because the air MEDEVAC could not land on COP Keating, the Soldier remained without a vital blood transfusion. While the troopers continued their intense fight with the Taliban, the quick reaction force (QRF) was now making its way down the mountain from OP Fritsche. The dismounted infantry company would not arrive for several hours, and CPT Cordova determined that PFC M*** would not survive without a blood transfusion. Assessing the Soldier once more, CPT Cordova scanned over PFC M***’s ID Tags, confirming the Soldier’s blood type. A field-executed blood transfusion had only been briefly discussed, not even practiced, during his training as a physician assistant. PFC M*** was fading fast, so CPT Cordova was forced to act without guidance from a senior medical professional or guidelines from any medical journals. He quickly surveyed the aid station and identified three people with PFC M***’s blood type: his two medics and himself. Without hesitation, CPT Cordova gathered the blood transfusion kits, prepared the equipment, and collected one unit of blood from SPC F****. CPT Cordova then slowly administered SPC F****’s blood to PFC M*** with close observation for change in vital signs, mental status or transfusion related reactions. After the first unit of blood was completed, PFC M***’s mental status improved, his pulse rose, and the Soldier began to make jokes with the men around him. The result of CPT Cordova’s care for PFC M*** raised the morale of every Soldier in the aid station, and word quickly spread across the outpost. Over the next several hours, CPT Cordova repeated the transfusion an additional three times, donating his own blood while monitoring PFC M***’s vital signs every five minutes. CPT Cordova performed a transfusion to a dying Soldier and saved his life, all without any training or supervision in the matter. CPT Cordova’s actions exhibited mental stamina and personal courage. He kept PFC M*** alive for several hours until the Soldier could be transferred to the next higher level of care. Throughout the entire day, CPT Cordova led his team of medics in treating platoons worth of injured Soldiers who refused to stop fighting. During the intense fighting, B Troop Soldiers recovered the bodies of SGT J***** G******* and SGT V***** M*****, who also joined the expectant heroes after CPT Cordova pronounced their time of death. The final fallen Soldier, SGT J***** H****, was not located until the QRF arrived on the COP and established additional security along the southern and western perimeter. At approximately 2015, CPT Cordova was notified that COP Keating was secure, the QRF was on the FOB, and a MEDEVAC was en route. With great foresight, CPT Cordova packaged PFC M****with a fifth unit of whole blood in a pressure infuser, ensuring the patient was adequately covered with blankets and a cap. He led the litters to the HLZ and handed PFC M*** and the two other ANA patients to the MEDEVAC helicopter. On the next MEDEVAC, CPT Cordova led the team in loading five ambulatory patients, and a final MEDEVAC returned and collected the remaining five ANA ambulatory patients. Later that evening PFC M*** died on an operating table during vitally necessary surgery. CPT Cordova gave PFC M*** a chance to live, which provided a great deal of pride and comfort to the men of B Troop and the 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment. It was as if CPT Cordova’s leadership had its own medicinal value to the men around him. In the days that followed, CPT Cordova continued to treat injured Soldiers, American and Afghan, and coordinated for air MEDEVAC for those who were seriously wounded. During the 84-hour event at COP Keating, a total of 16 US and ANSF were treated and evacuated, and an additional 27 US and ANSF walking wounded were treated and returned to duty. Throughout the intense 12-hour fight, CPT Christopher Cordova motivated his medics, inspired all B Troop Soldiers, and reassured the leaders in the fight. The men of COP Keating fought with ferocity and valor, destroying a numerically superior enemy more than four times their size. Their actions were only possible because of the first-class medical support provided by “Doc” Cordova and his team during the emotionally-draining MASCAL. CPT Cordova’s diligent commitment to train his medics and constantly perfect their abilities enabled each of them to treat the dying and wounded with the highest quality of care. CPT Cordova’s actions saved the lives of several Soldiers, and he alone accomplished the work of four medical professionals without stopping for sleep or food. CPT Cordova’s heroic actions maintained the spirit of the Soldiers and the Warrior Ethos of the troop. Through his calm demeanor and thorough understanding of medicine, the troop continued to fight because they knew they would be in good hands if they sustained injuries. Captain Cordova's leadership under fire and disregard for his own personal safety in the midst of heavy and sustained enemy contact are in keeping with the finest traditions of the Medical Service Corps and the United States Army.
Permanent Order: 097-026, 4th Infantry Division, signed by Commander, US Forces
Home of Record: Mechanicsville, Maryland
Specialist, U.S. Army
Company D, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team
Date of Action: 13 July 2008
Specialist Aaron Davis, United States Army, was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action while serving as a Medical Aidman with Company D, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team in action on 13 July 2008 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. On that date Specialist Davis and his team were patrolling in northeast Afghanistan when they were attacked by Taliban fighters. During the action, Specialist Davis was hit with shrapnel in his right leg from a rocket propelled grenade. Despite his injuries, he remained on the battlefield rendering aid and assisting three injured Soldiers to a medical evacuation helicopter.
SSG, U.S. Army
364th Civil Affairs Group, Joint Provisional Reconstruction Team Khost
Date of Action: 20 February 2007
Staff Sergeant Jason Fetty, United States Army (Reserve), was awarded the Silver Star for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving with the 364th Civil Affairs Group, Joint Provisional Reconstruction Team KHOST, during combat operations in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, on 20 February 2007, in Afghanistan. At the opening of a new medical center at the Khost City Hospital in Afghanistan, Staff Sergeant Fetty was working a security detail, on hand to protect the governor of Khost and several Afghan dignitaries. After spending 10 months working with locals building the center, Staff Sergeant Fetty noticed a man in a white lab coat who didn't look familiar. He began going through his escalation of force commands: "Stop." "Get down." The doctor ignored him, and tried to grab him. Staff Sergeant Fetty wanted to fire a warning shot, but feared it would ricochet and hit the hospital or someone gathered in the crowd around it. Staff Sergeant Fetty was working with members of the 82d Airborne Division, who were new to the area. He realized that he was the only soldier in a position to stop what could be a suicide bomber from attacking the ceremony. Rather than shirking him off, he used the distance his weapon created between him and his attacker to his advantage. He slowly maneuvered toward a clearing between the hospital and the nearby administrative huts, away from the crowd. Assuming that the man was wearing a suicide vest that might explode at any time, as the struggle continued, Staff Sergeant Fetty recognized he probably wouldn't survive. Clear of the crowd, he hit the man with the butt of his weapon, then fired warning shots at the ground near his feet. When the two broke apart from the scuffle, Staff Sergeant Fetty shot the attacker in the leg to subdue him. When the man got up again, the other Soldiers, noticing the fight, fired on the attacker who exploded. Staff Sergeant Fetty took three steps before making a dive. The blast came as he hit the ground, peppering him with shrapnel in the face, leg and ankle. All that remained where he had struggled with the attacker was a big hole in the ground. By leading the attacker from the crowd, Staff Sergeant Fetty allowed for the evacuation of all medical personnel and dignitaries, which included the governor of the province, the primary target of the bombing.
Home of record: Parkersburg, West Virginia
SGT, U.S. Army
Troop B, 1st Squadron , 91st Cavalry (Airborne), 173d Airborne Brigade,
Date of Action: 27 July 2007
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by an act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Sergeant Robert Fortner, United States Army, for extraordinary gallantry while serving as the Troop Medic in Troop B, 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry (Airborne), 173d Airborne Brigade, during combat operations on 27 July 2007, in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM VII. For exceptional heroism while placing his own life at extreme risk during military operations against a hostile force in Afghanistan in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, on 27 July 2007. Sergeant Fortner's courage under fire distinguished him while serving as the medic for 2d Platoon, B Troop, 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry. On the morning of 27 July 2007, elements of B Troop, 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry, 173d Airborne Brigade Combat Team, having just completed a village assessment of Saret Kholeh, were moving east along the road south of the Landay Sin River. At approximately 0400Z an enemy force of over 100 fighters arrayed in multiple positions opened fire on the formation from high ground to the north, northeast, northwest, and south. One ANA and one U.S. Soldier, Private First Class Craig, were wounded in the initial attack. Sergeant Fortner treated them under fire and then positioned them to a more secure location so they could continue to fight. At that time large volumes of small arms and well-aimed sniper and RPG fire began to strike Sergeant Fortner's position. Troopers reported that Private First Class Craig's wounds had begun to bleed heavily again. As intense fire erupted around him, and with complete disregard for his own personal safety, Sergeant Fortner moved up the very steep hill to Private First Class Craig's position to control the bleeding. Volleys of RPG fire resulted in casualties further up the hill. Sergeant Fortner, with great personal courage, immediately began to move to their location. Despite the intense small arms, RPG, and sniper fire directed at him, Sergeant Fortner continued forward to treat his comrades. He was struck by a bullet in the right upper arm. Disregarding his own wounds, Sergeant Fortner continued to move under fire to provide care to his comrades before treating himself. He then removed the bullet from his own arm and assisted Private First Class Trapyline down the hill to the casualty collection point. By this time the QRF had arrived with M1114 gun trucks. As they supplied suppressive fire with .50 Caliber, MK-19 and M-240, Sergeant Fortner assisted in loading the four casualties. He refused to be evacuated himself, insisting on staying with his platoon. After a lull in which the enemy had reorganized and reinforced, the attack resumed. The Troop Command Post just to the east was struck by RPG fire killing Captain Bostick and injuring three others. Second Lieutenant Johnson made it to the Platoon CP where he was evacuated for disorientation secondary to the blast concussion. Staff Sergeant Lape and Private First Class Sultan moved to a position behind a large rock in the road. In spite of the extremely high volume of well-aimed small arms, sniper and RPG fire directed at him, and once again without any regard for his own safety, Sergeant Fortner rolled down the hill and low-crawled to their position. Enemy fire continued to impact all around him. He was able to provide lifesaving treatment to Private First Class Sultan. The QRF returned to the casualty collection point, Captain Bostick was loaded in one vehicle while Sergeant Fortner helped load Private First Class Sultan in another, still under heavy enemy fire. As the forward elements bounded together with the QRF to a more defensible location, they received heavy small arms and RPG fire from at least four directions. Six soldiers were wounded, all treated by Sergeant Fortner as they continued to move. Once at the HLZ, Sergeant Fortner continued to provide medical care and once again refused to be evacuated until all casualties were extracted. Only then did he depart the battlefield, accompanying the remains of his commander and an ANA soldier. Sergeant Fortner's extraordinary heroism under intense enemy fire saved the lives of his comrades. His exceptionally brave actions exemplify the Warrior Ethos and NCO Creed. His gallantry and professionalism stand as timeless examples of courage and selfless service to his fellow Soldiers in B Troop, 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry (Airmobile), Task Force BAYONET, and CJTF-82.
*FUHRMANN II, MICHAEL RAY
SPC, U.S. Army
3d Battalion, 69th Armored Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3d Infantry Division
Date of Action: 22 March 2005
Specialist Ray Michael Fuhrmann, II, United States Army, was awarded the Silver Star (Posthumously) for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as a Medical Aidman with the 3d Battalion, 69th Armored Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3d Infantry Division, during combat operations in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, on 22 March 2005, in Iraq. On that date, Specialist Fuhrmann's unit came under enemy fire near Samarra, Iraq. Several Iraqi Army commandos fell and lay exposed in a field between the opponents. Without regard for his safety, Specialist Fuhrmann braved extremely heavy enemy fire and went to the Iraqis to treat their wounds. As he treated the wounded, he also fired his rifle and pistol to support his unit's counterattack. When he ran out of ammunition, he seized one of the wounded Iraqis' rifles and continued to fire in support of the assault and to protect the wounded. Specialist Fuhrmann's actions during the firefight saved the lives of six Iraqi commandos and helped prevail over the enemy. His gallant actions and dedicated devotion to duty, without regard for his own life, were in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
Home of record: Novato, California