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-   -   Alaska Air Guard pararescue jumper receives rare Silver Star medal (http://www.socnet.com/showthread.php?t=123957)

smp52 24 May 2015 12:40

Alaska Air Guard pararescue jumper receives rare Silver Star medal
 
Full Article

Quote:

Originally Posted by From the news article
Master Sgt. Roger D. Sparks received America’s third-highest award for conspicuous valor in combat for his actions during a battle in Afghanistan on Nov. 14, 2010. Sparks and fellow PJ Capt. Koaalii Bailey flew into the Watapur Valley expecting to extract two wounded soldiers when “they were engulfed in a firestorm,” said Air Guard Maj. Joe Conroy in remarks to the crowd assembled at JBER’s Arctic Warrior Events Center.

Bullets buzzed and rockets exploded around them as they descended 40 feet by cable from a hovering helicopter.

“I thought we had three seconds to live,” Sparks recalled.

On the ground, the PJs found the Army unit in a state of shock, surrounded, outnumbered and outgunned. Several men were dead and the number of wounded was much higher than they’d been told. The helicopter quickly spent its ammunition and left the area to rearm, leaving the medics behind.

Sparks and Bailey essentially took over command of the fight for “six intense hours,” Conroy said. They called in close strikes to push back the enemy while they scrambled to help the injured and organized the evacuation.

Sparks’ citation reads: “Despite continued enemy fire and with no concern for his personal safety, Sergeant Sparks immediately performed lifesaving measures for nine wounded soldiers. He feverishly triaged chest wounds, punctured lungs, shattered hips, fist-sized blast holes, eviscerated stomachs and arterial bleeders with limited medical supplies and only the light of the moon.”

Came across the link through Facebook; it's dated from July 2014 but didn't see it posted here.

Bravo Zulu, Master Sergeant Sparks.

MixedLoad 25 May 2015 01:10

What an absolute stud.

Ace 25 May 2015 08:53

Outstanding!
Here's the actual citation

"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 Master Sergeant Roger D. Sparks, United States Air Force, for gallantry in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United States as a Pararescue Jumper assigned to the 212th Rescue Squadron in the Watapur Valley, Afghanistan, on 14 November 2010.
On that date, Sergeant Sparks responded to a call in support of Operation BULLDOG BITE and the Army's 101st Airborne Division. While in the air, circling the objective, the ground situation grew extremely hostile and the number of casualties increased from two to six.

As a result of the increased fighting in the area, Sergeant Sparks' team took the lead position for the evacuation mission. With limited information regarding the ground situation, Sergeant Sparks and Captain Bailey began their 40 foot descent from the helicopter via a hoist to the ground and immediately began taking enemy fire.

Bullets flew by the two pararescuers and the lowering cable was hit three times while they dangled in the air. They yelled for rapid descent and the flight engineer lowered them to the ground with enemy rounds flying all around. Upon reaching the ground the pair was assaulted with a rocket propelled grenade. Exploding just 20 feet away, the blast knocked them both off their feet.

As the gunner engaged the enemy with danger close rounds, Sergeant Sparks ran approximately 70 yards uphill, to take cover. As he approached the tree, it was blown to pieces by another enemy fired rocket propelled grenade. Still under intense enemy fire, with bombs hammering danger close enemy positions, Sergeant Sparks performed lifesaving measures for nine wounded Soldiers.

He feverishly triaged chest wounds, punctured lungs, shattered hips, fist-sized blast holds, eviscerated stomachs, and arterial bleeders with limited medical supplies and only the light of the moon. Upon return of evacuation aircraft, Sergeant Sparks directed evacuation of the injured while briefing crews on each casualty's injuries and medical needs, choosing to remain behind until the last man departed.

His extraordinary efforts under direct, immediate danger to his own life resulted in saving four American lives, one Host Nation civilian and returning four Soldiers killed in action to their families. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Sergeant Sparks has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
Action Date: November 14, 2010"

PJ1 25 May 2015 11:56

And yet the AF is the only branch of service that has not awarded one warrior the MOH during OIF/OEF.

Mars 25 May 2015 12:02

Congratulations Master Sergeant Sparks!

Job well-done, sir!

Ace 25 May 2015 12:24

Quote:

Originally Posted by PJ1 (Post 1058477850)
And yet the AF is the only branch of service that has not awarded one warrior the MOH during OIF/OEF.

Wow, that's actually a shock to me.

Hot Mess 25 May 2015 12:39

Solid
 
Fucking Awesome:cool: I went to SLJM with Cpt Bailey in Benning. Great dude who was my study partner, we blade ran that whole course together:biggrin:

justamedic 25 May 2015 14:58

Great job, truly. Gents are really an inspiration.

bugeater 25 May 2015 16:01

Was just talking about Bulldog Bite a few weeks ago.

PJ's doing what they do, glad to see some recognition for it.

Linda1961 8 June 2015 02:31

Awesome! Congrats and thank you for your service. True blue hero stuff.

And most folks I know don't know that Air Force has a SOF section or special tactics I think they say not sure. They think they're all like Tom Cruise in Top Gun (Gag) tho that was about Navy pilots. They have no clue how badass the PJs are.

I'm always like "Well if a pilot goes down behind enemy lines who do you think they depend on to get them while they're evading and trying to escape? They all assume the Army gets them (tho I know when a brother is out there you all work toward getting him home). When I tell them about the PJs they all go "hmmmm".:rolleyes: no one thinks of the Air Force as being tough or being part of the SOF community.

It's sad how many of of civvies are clueless about those of you guys who keep us safe. Since we haven't served I think it's our duty to first know about all our military, second support them and to pray for them and let them know we're not all assholes and know who guarantees our freedoms.

Thank you to Stt Sparks and to each and every one of you who have worn the uniform or are currently wearing it. Very much appreciated.

8654maine 8 June 2015 05:49

BZ, MSgt Sparks.

fly2eat 15 January 2016 11:38

It was an AF Cross mission. If you heard the debrief in person you would agree. They called in danger close bombs, missiles and aircraft fire right on top of their position to stop the nose pickers from over running their position. The initial call to the Pedros was for 2 Hero's and a wounded, basically unopposed. What they found was quite different. Nearly the entire platoon was dead or severely wounded/disabled. During the ingress the first helo had a PJ shot in the head (survived) and they returned to the FOB. The second helo with Sparks and the PJ TL Cro got shot off before the 3rd PJ could lower their full-up med rucks. They fought their way to the top of the hill killing several enemy in close quarters and being fired at with small arms and RPG's. The enemy had large caliber weapons they had initially ambushed the patrol with and were continuing to direct that as the recovery continued. It last over 12 hours, nearly all under intense fire. Sparks had 5 or 6 die as he was treating them. The team was not always under the cover of aviation assets although Navy F-18's and Apaches raced in and out of the valley trying to keep them covered as did the Rescue choppers. Sparks helo pilots had to kick the shattered windshields out as the fire directed at the hovering helo caused the windscreen to fly in at them while they were trying to get the boys on the ground. Sparks said he could feel the hoist cable wobbling and realized it was being hit by small arms fire above them. It was then unusable, hence, that chopper could not retrieve them. An RPG ended up flying right though the open doors without hitting anything or anybody during the hover. To listen to a 6'6" former Marine Recon guy tell this story in front of 50 PJ's, where you could of heard a pin drop, was one of the most memorable mission debriefs I have ever witnessed. One of his quotes that I will never forget and paraphrase; "I've shot bad guys right in the face and felt nothing. Having good guys eyes go blank and die as you are holding their shattered head in your hands was and is - overwhelming". That Others May Live!

PJ1 16 January 2016 18:34

The Big Frog is a STUD....You are correct it should be upgraded.

Baildog 16 January 2016 21:08

Bravo Zulu.


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