A Story of Seven Military Heroes

Congratulations to the seven Special Forces soldiers from a North Carolina-based unit (Fort Bragg), who were awarded Silver Stars (the Army's third highest valor medal) for actions in Afghanistan. The medals are being awarded for five separate battles spanning two years. 

CNN recounts the individual acts of heroism:


Sgt. 1st Class Antonio Gonzalez, Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha (SFODA) 732:

"Without regard for his life," the Army account read, "over the course of three trips through enemy fire, he rescued all four soldiers and brought them back to the safety of his armored vehicle." He did it all while under fire from enemy sniper and machine gun fire.

Sgt. 1st Class Mark Roland, Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha (SFODA) 732:

Even though the enemy was firing from just 10 feet, Roland immediately climbed out of the relative safety of his armored vehicle and started attacking enemy fighters in a nearby wadi, or dry streambed.
After clearing the wadi and getting back in his vehicle, Roland saw eight Afghan soldiers who were pinned down by enemy machine gun fire. He got out of his vehicle, ran through enemy fire and moved four of the Afghan soldiers back to his vehicle and directed the other four to another armored vehicle.

Staff Sgt. Mario Pinilla, Special Operational Detachment Alpha 7134 near Kandahar Airfield in southern Afghanistan:

Pinilla saw one of his fellow soldiers pinned down by enemy fire and already shot twice. Pinilla grabbed a large machine gun, ran through enemy fire, shooting back the entire time, then dived to the ground to block the enemy fire from his wounded colleague, according to the Army.
. . ."While his fellow detachment members fought to get him back to safety, Sergeant Pinilla drew his 9mm Beretta and continued engaging the enemy's ambush line, despite being critically injured," the account reads.

Staff Sgt. Daniel Gould, Special Operational Detachment Alpha 7134 near Kandahar Airfield in southern Afghanistan:

Gould also put his life on the line to save a fellow soldier. When the Taliban ambushed the unit, he got into an intense half-hour gun battle with the enemy. His helmet was shot off his head, and he was hit once in his body armor.
During the fight, he saw one of his teammates, who was much closer to the enemy, get shot and critically wounded. . .Gould joined the medic first in dragging the wounded soldier through nearly 50 yards of enemy fire, and then carrying the wounded man the last 40 yards on his shoulders until they all reached safety.

Master Sgt. Julio Bocanegra, U.S. Special Forces:

Bocanegra jumped out of his vehicle and ran through a hail of fire to reach the Afghan police, all but one of whom was wounded.
"Sergeant Bocanegra then disregarded the enemy fire and picked up one of the wounded and placed him into the vehicle which [was] continuing to receive effective fire. Continuing to ignore the danger to his life, Sergeant Bocanegra then picked up a second policeman with multiple gunshot wounds to both legs and placed him into the vehicle," the account said.
Bocanegra, with the help of the one policeman who had not been shot, got the third wounded officer into the Afghan police pickup truck and moved them all to safety. All three Afghan police officers and three soldiers who had been wounded in the fight survived their injuries.

Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan Clouse, an army veteran working with a Marine special operations unit:

"SFC Clouse ran through the kill zone to render further medical attention under head machine gun fire that struck the back of his body armor," according to the Army summary of the battle.
"Reacting to the calls for assistance from other wounded, SFC Clouse again ran through the kill zone to provide medical assistance," according to the report.
One enemy sniper bullet destroyed Clouse's weapon, but he kept on. All told, Clouse provided medical assistance to four American wounded and one Afghan soldier who'd been wounded in the attack and helped moved them to safety.


Sgt. 1st Class David Nunez, U.S. Special Forces:

As many as 60 insurgents attacked the convoy, disabling Nunez's vehicle with a rocket-propelled grenade. The vehicle started burning, and Nunez was worried that other soldiers were still in the vehicle, according to the Army.
"Without regard for his own life, [Nunez] began to discard ammunition and explosives from the rear of the vehicle in order to ensure others were not injured. During this entire period of time, SFC Nunez was engulfed in flames. Ignoring his wounds and the intense concentration of enemy fire, he continued to assist the convoy pinned in the kill zone until he eventually succumbed to his injuries," the battle account reads.

Pictured above from left to right: Sgt. 1st Class Mario Pinilla, Staff Sgt. Daniel Gould, Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan Clouse, Master Sgt. Julio Bocanegra, Sgt. 1st Class Antonio Gonzalez, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Mark Roland, and Spc. Rene Nunez, a member of the 82nd Airborne Division who accepted the posthumous award for his brother Sgt. 1st Class David Nunez.  (Photo by Trisha Harris, USASOC Public Affairs Office)

*Note: This story was found buried in the politics section of CNN so please forward it on so others will see it!


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