Monday, September 6, 2010

Heroes Among Us

It is clear that the war in Afghanistan, nearly 9 years old, is becoming increasingly costly. 55 soldiers have been killed in the month of August, alone. Among the increasingly violent firefights we are hearing stories of amazing heroism.
Some soldiers recently received public recognition for their actions in Afghanistan. A Silver Star ceremony was held at Ft. Bragg, N.C. on Monday August 16, 2010.
The third highest award for valor in the Army was awarded to Sgt. 1st Class Antonio Gonzalez and Sgt. 1st Class Mark Roland, both part of Special Operational Detachment 732.
On June 11, 2010, their unit was sent to help an Afghan unit that was pinned down by Taliban fighters.As soon as they arrived they found themselves in the same predicament. Roland climbed out of the safety of his armored vehicle and engaged the enemy in a dry creek bed. They killed 2 Taliban and swept the rest of the dry creek bed. That action protected their rear flank. Gonzalez saw 4 Taliban pinned down, jumped from his vehicle, and ran through enemy fire.
The Army account read, "Without regard for his life over the course of three trips through enemy fire he rescued all 4 soldiers and brought them back to the safety of the armored vehicle." All this while under fire.
After clearing the creek bed and getting back into his vehicle he saw 8 Afghan soldiers pinned down by machine gun fire. Roland got 4 of the Afghans to his vehicle and directed the other 4 to another vehicle.
He and his fellow soldiers defeated an ambush that consisted of 60 Taliban including 2 Taliban Commanders.
Staff Sgts. Mario Pinella and Daniel Gould also had recieved a bronze star.Gould also received the Silver Star for past heroism.

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