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Old 9 January 2012, 18:09
nickd nickd is offline
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Special Forces Soldier Awarded Silver Star

Forgive me If I'm posting unappropriately, but it's always much better to hear about the valiant actions of the real guys than worrying about the posers.


http://hamptonroads.com/2012/01/gree...es-silver-star

Quote:

Green Beret from Virginia Beach receives Silver Star



The mission seemed simple enough, comparatively at least: A team of Army Green Berets planned to drive into a part of Afghanistan they knew well, in the northern province of Kapisa. Along with a few dozen others, including French engineers, Romanian special forces and Afghan fighters loyal to the government, they would assess a site where they hoped to build a new outpost for the Afghan troops.

They knew they'd probably be shot at, but they were confident they could handle it. After all, it happened every time they went there, and that was why building the checkpoint was so important: Establishing a steady presence was the first step toward wresting control from the Taliban.

It was Dec. 17, 2010. Among the Green Berets - all of them members of the 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group - was a sergeant first class from Virginia Beach, McKenna "Frank" Miller. Then 32, he'd joined the Army 13 years earlier, soon after graduating from Frank W. Cox High School, and quickly determined that special operations was the future he wanted.

"I saw the way they had so much more latitude to deal directly with local people," he said in a recent phone interview. "You can truly make a difference."

Speaking about the locals where the team planned to build the Kapisa outpost, Miller said, "They really wanted that checkpoint. They asked for it."

Predictably, the team started taking small-arms fire as soon as it arrived. Another of the Green Berets, Capt. David Fox, led a half-dozen members to the assessment site while Miller and the others provided security. The shooting, from an estimated 10 enemy fighters, "wasn't a big deal," Miller said. "We could control the situation."

Soon, though, rocket-propelled grenades began to fly, and the small-arms fire intensified. Miller radioed to Fox that they'd better hurry up.

"I was sensing things were deteriorating," Fox later told an Army journalist, so he moved his group to the top of a steep mountain to help return fire.

That's when an improvised bomb exploded, killing one of the French engineers and leaving one of the Afghans, a local commander, badly wounded. Fox and the others who were with him were knocked unconscious.

Far below, Miller heard the blast and saw the smoke, but it wasn't until Fox awoke and spoke into his radio that his teammates understood the severity of what had happened. Miller could make out only two words of the broken transmission, but they were enough: "Urgent... surgical."

He and another American, Staff Sgt. Matthew Gassman, started up the side of the mountain. It was a near-vertical ascent, done "continuously under enemy fire," according to the Army's official narrative.

After they found their teammates, Miller briefly tried to treat the engineer. Upon realizing he'd been killed, he did what he says was the only thing he could. He lifted the roughly 200-pound man over his shoulder and, despite his exhaustion, carried him down the mountain, stumbling and falling several times along the way. Gassman helped the wounded Afghan commander while Fox provided cover.

By then, the number of enemy fighters had grown to about 70.

When the soldiers reached the bottom of the mountain, Miller collapsed while trying to dodge the enemy rounds, which were hitting the slain man on his back, the Army's narrative says. Despite two strained hamstrings, he picked the man up again and continued forward.

Describing the pain of ripped hamstrings, Miller said, "It took the breath away from me."

The men took cover behind a large tree until helicopters arrived to evacuate them.

Apart from the French engineer, everyone survived the roughly three-hour ordeal, and during a ceremony in Germany last month, Miller, Fox and Gassman were each presented with the Silver Star, the Army's third-highest award for combat gallantry.

Now on his way home to the United States, where he will report to Fort Bragg, N.C., to work as an instructor, Miller said he's disappointed that others who were there that day were not also recognized, and he questions whether he truly deserves the medal. He said the entire team risked their lives, and he and Fox and Gassman scaled the mountain under such fire only because they knew everyone below was working together to protect them, including the Afghans.

Miller said that comradeship under fire, more than anything, is what he sees as the greatest achievement of the day, and he would trade the Silver Star without hesitation to be back among his Afghan friends.

"We were brothers," he said.

As for the wounded Afghan commander, he lost a leg but returned to his position with the help of a prosthesis. As far as Miller knows, he continues to fight the Taliban today.

And as for the checkpoint, it was built.

"We went back a week or two later," Miller said. "It was a huge step for the whole region."

Corinne Reilly, (757) 446-2949, corinne.reilly@pilotonline.com
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  #2  
Old 9 January 2012, 18:46
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KidA KidA is offline
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Good actions on the part of this soldier.

FYI: "Hats" can't be awarded medals. A hat is a hat. A Special Forces soldier is a Special Forces soldier.

(Yes the article calls them Green Berets but the media is stupid). Just an FYI for future reference.
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Old 9 January 2012, 20:54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KidA View Post
Good actions on the part of this soldier.

FYI: "Hats" can't be awarded medals. A hat is a hat. A Special Forces soldier is a Special Forces soldier.

(Yes the article calls them Green Berets but the media is stupid). Just an FYI for future reference.
Fixed. Because I agree with you.

Just for your own situational awareness, however, there appears to be a trend fostered by certain SF generals to encourage the use of the term "Green Beret." I shit you not.
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Old 9 January 2012, 21:00
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leopardprey leopardprey is online now
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I believe that was started back in the early days after 911, as the media was referring to just about everyone that was being deployed overseas, as special forces or special operationss. I remember seeing some sort of official memo to that extent in 2002 when I was with 19th group. They wanted to distinguish and set apart US Army Special Forces from the rest of the "special forces", hence a PR campaign to refer to us as "Green Berets" for the general public recognition at least.
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Old 10 January 2012, 01:21
Txchris Txchris is offline
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Kapisa province, my old stomping grounds. Happy to see SF is still doing good work up there.

Chris
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Old 10 January 2012, 15:55
MakoZeroSix MakoZeroSix is offline
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Quote:
Just for your own situational awareness, however, there appears to be a trend fostered by certain SF generals to encourage the use of the term "Green Beret." I shit you not.
Probably because the usual conversation goes thus:

"So, what do you do?"

"I'm a Special Forces Soldier."

"Oh, you mean a Navy SEAL?"

"Uh...no, I mean like a Green Beret."

"Oh, yeah. Those guys. That's tight."
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Old 15 January 2012, 02:02
aceJDAM aceJDAM is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Txchris View Post
Kapisa province, my old stomping grounds. Happy to see SF is still doing good work up there.

Chris
Chris,
Mine too in '07 and '08.
The Foreign Legion is still there. One of the legionnaires that I worked with in Kapisa just lost two legionnaire buddies in Kapisa when one of the ANA they were training opened fire on them.

And the OP is right, it is nice to see heroic stories instead of all the poser busting.

Awesome work by never leaving that fallen comrade behind. I applaud SFC Miller.
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  #8  
Old 15 January 2012, 17:12
cdutchess78 cdutchess78 is offline
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I was working out of FOB Kutzbach in Kapisa as a contractor with Dyncorp.The guys for 10th were there and I can say some of the most squared away quiet professionals I have ever encountered.Glad to hear they are still trying to help.
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Old 15 January 2012, 18:56
Txchris Txchris is offline
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Ace,

09 for me. I worked a lot with the French Mountain and Marine Regiments. I had some interaction with Legionnaires, but the Legion detachment left with the Mountain troops and didn't come back until I was about to leave. A friend of mine is back there with Kapisa PRT Secfor, working with the French Paratroopers. I used to think very little of the French, but serving alongside those guys opened my eyes. I'd go on a mission with them any day.

Chris
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Old 18 January 2012, 10:20
aceJDAM aceJDAM is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdutchess78 View Post
I was working out of FOB Kutzbach in Kapisa as a contractor with Dyncorp.The guys for 10th were there and I can say some of the most squared away quiet professionals I have ever encountered.Glad to hear they are still trying to help.
I was there when it was named FOB Kutschbach

I guess they have renamed it FOB Tagab now. I think all of 10th GRP has left the area. We are trying to track down the monument we erected there. Supposedly it went to the AOB.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Txchris View Post
Ace,

09 for me. I worked a lot with the French Mountain and Marine Regiments. I had some interaction with Legionnaires, but the Legion detachment left with the Mountain troops and didn't come back until I was about to leave. A friend of mine is back there with Kapisa PRT Secfor, working with the French Paratroopers. I used to think very little of the French, but serving alongside those guys opened my eyes. I'd go on a mission with them any day.

Chris
Chris, I concur. After working with the guys on the ground they are just like soldiers from other countries. The legionnaires envied the way that the American public supports its troops, even if they don't support the war. France (in general) is anti-troop and anti-war.
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Old 18 January 2012, 13:40
Txchris Txchris is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aceJDAM View Post
I was there when it was named FOB Kutschbach

I guess they have renamed it FOB Tagab now. I think all of 10th GRP has left the area. We are trying to track down the monument we erected there. Supposedly it went to the AOB.....France (in general) is anti-troop and anti-war.
It's still called Kutschbach (or at least it was in 2009), but the French and Afghans always called it FOB Tagab. I never saw a monument there. You're right about the French military and French public, the military is very good and dedicated to the fight but the public doesn't support it at all. The French were always walking on eggshells over there, worried that any mistake would get the entire force yanked from Afghanistan.

Chris
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Old 18 January 2012, 14:32
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Originally Posted by aceJDAM View Post
Mine too in '07 and '08.
Were you with 32 ?
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Old 18 January 2012, 15:32
aceJDAM aceJDAM is offline
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Were you with 32 ?
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