Afghanistan

AFGHANISTAN

Executive Summary of the Battle of Takur Ghar

Released through the Department of Defense, May 24, 2002

In the early morning hours of March 4, 2002, on a mountaintop called Takur Ghar in southeastern Afghanistan, al Qaeda soldiers fired on an MH-47E helicopter carrying a Special Operations Forces (SOF) reconnaissance element. This fire resulted in a Navy SEAL, ABH1 Neal Roberts, falling out of the helicopter, and began a chain of events culminating in one of the most intense small-unit firefights of the war against terrorism; the death of all the al Qaeda terrorists defending the mountain top; and, sadly, resulting also in the death of seven U.S. servicemen. Despite these losses, the U.S. forces involved in this fight again distinguished themselves by conspicuous bravery. Their countless acts of heroism demonstrated the best of America’s Special Operations Forces (SOF) as Army, Navy and Air Force special operators fought side by side to save one of their own, and each other, and in the process secured the mountain top and inflicted serious loss on the al Qaeda.

U.S. SOF had been monitoring for well over a month a large-scale pocket of forces in the Shah-e-Kot valley, southeast of Gardez, Afghanistan. In February, the headquarters for U.S. ground forces in Afghanistan, TF MOUNTAIN, commanded by MG Hagenback, conceived a classic military Òhammer and anvilÓ maneuver”;code-named Operation ANACONDA”;to clear out this threat. U.S. and Afghan forces in Gardez would push from the West in an effort to clear an area of reported high concentrations of al Qaeda in the western part of the Shah-e-Kot valley. ANACONDA planners believed this maneuver would cause the enemy to flee east into the blocking positions of awaiting American soldiers from the 10 th Mountain and 101st Airborne Divisions located in the eastern sector of the valley. Augmenting the conventional forces would be small reconnaissance teams. These teams were drawn from U.S. and Coalition SOF – they included U.S. Navy SEALs, U.S. Army Special Forces, and U.S. Air Force special tactics operators. The plan was to position these reconnaissance (ÒrecceÓ) teams at strategic locations where they would establish observation posts (OPs) to provide information on enemy movements and direct air strikes against observed enemy forces. This was done in several locations resulting directly in effective airstrikes on observed al Qaeda positions and the death of hundreds of al Qaeda in the Sahi-Kowt area. ABH1 Neil Roberts served in one of these reconnaissance teams.

In war, however, things rarely go exactly as planned – the enemy has a “vote”.

Operation ANACONDA proved to be no exception. Rather than flee, these disciplined and well trained al Qaeda soldiers stood and fought, and at times were reinforced ­ all along a series of draws and trails at the southern end of the valley near Marzak, dubbed the “ratline.” The enemy halted the Afghan forces pushing east toward “the Whale” ­ a distinctive terrain feature southeast of Gardez ­ and the Afghan forces then withdrew back to Gardez. Because of a brief period of bad weather and the unexpectedly heavy enemy resistance, only a portion of the TF MOUNTAIN troops inserted into their intended positions on D-Day. Some of those that did insert, fought under intense mortar and small arms fire. SOF, well hidden in their observation posts, used direct fire weapons, and coordinated close air support bombing onto enemy fighting positions. This provided some relief for the TF MOUNTAIN forces, especially in the south at HLZ Ginger east of Marzak. MG Hagenbeck repositioned his soldiers to the northern end of the Shah-e-Kot valley and attacked the al Qaeda from this direction. As the battle became more fluid, TF MOUNTAIN recognized the need to put U.S. “eyes” on the southern tip of the valley and the “ratline.” They needed additional observation posts near HLZ Ginger to provide surveillance and to call in U.S. air power on the numerous concentrations of enemy forces. A 10,000-foot, snow-capped mountain, named Takur Ghar, appeared to U.S. planners as a perfect location for an observation post. It dominated the southern approaches to the valley and offered excellent visibility into Marzak, two kilometers to the West. The mountaintop also provided an unobstructed view of the “Whale” on the other side of the valley. Takur Ghar was a perfect site for an observation post, and unfortunately, the enemy thought so too. The enemy had installed a well-concealed, fortified force, which included a heavy machine gun perfectly positioned to shoot down coalition aircraft flying in the valley below.

On 2 March, 2002, U.S. forces began planning to insert forces into two observation posts the following night. Two MH-47Es from 2nd Battalion, 160 th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) would insert two teams; one MH-47E – Razor 04, would emplace a team to the north while the other MH-47E – Razor 03, would deploy a team of U.S. SEALs and an Air Force combat controller (CCT) on Takur Ghar. Late the next evening, the two helicopters took off from their base north of “the box,” as the ANACONDA operational area became known to U.S. soldiers.

At approximately 0300 local time, Razor 03, carrying ABH1 Roberts’ team, approached its HLZ in a small saddle atop Takur Ghar. Originally planned to go in earlier to an offset HLZ, maintenance problems with one of the helicopters and a nearby B-52 strike in support of TF MOUNTAIN delayed the insert. As Razor 03 approached, both the pilots and the men in the back observed fresh tracks in the snow, goatskins, and other signs of recent human activity. Immediately, the pilots and team discussed a mission abort, but it was too late. An RPG struck the side of the aircraft, wounding one crewman, while machinegun bullets ripped through the fuselage, cutting hydraulic and oil lines. Fluid spewed about the ramp area of the helicopter. The pilot struggled to get the Chinook off the landing zone and away from the enemy fire. Neil Roberts stood closest to the ramp, poised to exit onto the landing zone. Roberts and an aircrew member were knocked off balance by the explosions and the sudden burst of power applied by the pilot. As Neil and the crewman reached to steady each other, both slipped on the oil-soaked ramp and fell out of the helicopter. As the pilots fought to regain control of the helicopter, other crewmembers pulled the tethered crewmember back into the aircraft. Un-tethered, Neil fell approximately 5-10 feet onto the snowy mountaintop below. The crew managed to keep the aircraft aloft until it became apparent it could fly no more. The pilots executed a controlled crash landing some seven kilometers north of where Petty Officer Roberts fell off the helicopter. He was now alone and in the midst of an enemy force.

Nobody knows exactly what transpired over the next few minutes on that mountaintop. There were no surveillance aircraft over the mountaintop at the time Roberts fell from the helicopter. Based on forensic evidence subsequently gathered from the scene, we believe Roberts survived the short fall from the helicopter, likely activated his signaling device, and engaged the enemy with his squad automatic weapon (SAW).

He was mortally injured by gunfire as the closed in on him.

Meanwhile, following Razor 03’s controlled crash landing, the SEALs did a quick head count that confirmed what they already knew‹Petty Officer Roberts was missing. TSgt John Chapman, the team’s Air Force combat controller, immediately contacted a nearby AC-130 for protection. A short time later, Razor 04, after inserting its “recce” team, arrived on the scene and picked up the downed crewmen and SEALs, taking them to Gardez. The SEALs and pilots of Razor 04 quickly formulated a plan to go back in and rescue Roberts, despite the fact that they knew a force of heavily armed al Qaeda manned positions on Takur Ghar. An AC-130 gunship moved to Takur Ghar and reported seeing what they believed to be Roberts, surrounded by four to six other individuals. Knowing how the al Qaeda brutally treated prisoners, Roberts’ teammates and commanders knew that time was running out on Neil Roberts. Razor 04, with its cargo of five SEALs and TSgt Chapman, departed Gardez and returned to Roberts’ last known location on the mountaintop. There were no known nearby, suitable landing zones – other than where Roberts had fallen. Inserting the rescue team at the base of the mountain was not an option ­ they would lose valuable time making the 2 to 3 hour climb up the mountain. Their only real chance of success was to reinsert in the same proximity of where Razor 03 had taken intense enemy fire.

At about 0500 local time, Razor 04 approached the HLZ atop of Takur Ghar. Despite enemy fire cutting through the MH-47E, all six members of what had been a “recce” element were safely inserted, and the helicopter, although damaged, returned to base. Once on the ground near Roberts’ last known location, and using the waning darkness for cover, the team assessed the situation and moved quickly to the high ground. The most prominent features on the hilltop were a large rock and tree. As they approached the tree, TSgt Chapman saw two enemy personnel in a fortified position under the tree. TSgt Chapman and a nearby SEAL opened fire, killing both enemy personnel. The Americans immediately began taking fire from another bunker position some 20 meters away. A burst of gunfire hit Chapman, mortally wounding him. The SEALs returned fire and threw hand grenades into the enemy bunker position to their immediate front. As the firefight continued, two of the SEALs were wounded by enemy gunfire and grenade fragmentation. Finding themselves in a deadly crossfire with 2 of their teammates seriously wounded and one killed and clearly outnumbered, the SEALs decided to disengage. They shot two more al Qaeda as they moved off the mountain peak to the Northeast – with one of the wounded SEALs taking “point.” As they moved partly down the side of the mountain for protection, a SEAL contacted the overhead AC-130‹ GRIM 32‹and requested fire support. GRIM 32 responded with covering fire as the SEALs withdrew.

Back at the US staging base, the Ranger quick reaction force (QRF) – a designated unit on standby for just such situations, was put on alert and directed to move forward to a safe landing zone at Gardez. This was to position them closer to the fight, within 15 minutes response time. The 23-man QRF loaded on two waiting MH-47Es: Razor 01 and Razor 02. Razor 01 carried 10 Rangers, an enlisted tactical air controller (ETAC), a combat controller (CCT) and a Pararescueman (PJ). Razor 02 carried 10 Rangers. Taking off from their base, the QRF had little knowledge about what was actually happening on Takur Ghar due to very limited communications. As the QRF flew toward Gardez, the embattled SEALs, withdrawing from Takur Ghar, requested their immediate assistance. Headquarters approved the request and directed the QRF to proceed quickly to the problem area and insert their team at an “offset” HLZ – not the same landing zone where Razors 03 and 04 had taken fire. Due to intermittently functioning aircraft communications equipment, the Rangers and helicopter crews never received the “offset” instructions which also hampered attempts to provide tactical situational awareness to the QRF commander aboard Razor 01. Communications problems too plagued headquarters’ attempts to determine the true condition of the SEAL team and their exact location. As a consequence, the Rangers went forward believing that the SEALs were still located on top of Takur Ghar, proceeding to the same location where both Razors 03 and 04 had taken enemy fire.

At about 0545 local, Razor 01 and 02 flew toward the Takur Ghar landing zone.

At this point, the QRF was unaware that a squad of al Qaeda fighters, who by this time had already killed two Americans, were poised and expecting their arrival. The sun was just beginning to crest the mountains to the east when Razor 01 approached from the south. On final approach, an RPG round exploded on the right side of the helicopter, while small arms fire peppered it from three directions. The pilots attempted to abort the landing, but the aircraft had taken too much damage. The right side mini-gunner, SGT Phil Svitak, opened fire but was hit by an AK-47 round and died almost immediately. The helicopter dropped ten feet and landed hard on the snow-covered slope of the landing zone. Both pilots were seriously wounded as they crash landed their crippled aircraft.

The helicopter nose was pointing up the hill toward the main enemy bunkers – where TSgt Chapman had been killed. The impact of the crash knocked everyone to the helicopter floor. The Rangers, CCT and the eight-man Chinook crew struggled under intense fire to get up and out of the helicopter fuselage. The rear door gunner and a Ranger opened fire out the back of the aircraft, killing an al Qaeda soldier. SGT Brad Crose and CPL Matt Commons survived the initial landing but were struck and killed by enemy fire as they exited the rear of the aircraft. Another Ranger, SPC Marc Anderson, was hit while still inside the aircraft, dying instantly.

Despite the intense small arms fire, the PJ, Senior Airman Jason Cunningham, and another medic remained inside the helicopter and began treating the wounded. At the same time, the surviving Rangers quickly assembled at the helicopter ramp to assess the situation and fix the enemy locations. Using their M-4s, the Rangers killed two more al Qaeda, including an RPG gunner. Using natural rock outcroppings as cover, they began maneuvering to better positions. The Ranger platoon leader formulated a plan to assault the bunkers on top of the hill – but after an initial attempt to do so, he quickly realized he would need a larger force. Instead, the Air Force combat controller worked to get close air support on station. Within minutes, U.S. aircraft began to bomb and strafe the enemy positions, dropping 500lb bombs within 50 meters of the SOF positions. By 7 am local time, the Rangers were no longer in danger of being overrun. They consolidated their position and established a casualty collection point to the rear of the helicopter. After the shootdown of Razor 01, Razor 02 was directed to move to a safe area and await further instructions. Later, Razor 02 inserted the other half of the QRF with its force of 10 Rangers and an additional Navy SEAL at an “offset” landing zone, down the mountain some 800 meters east and over 2,000 feet below the mountaintop. The Navy SEAL linked up with the SEAL “recce” element, which was by now some 1000 meters from the mountaintop. The Rangers¹ movement up the hill was a physically demanding 2-hour effort under heavy mortar fire and in thin mountain air. They climbed the 45-70 degree slope, most of it covered in three feet of snow, weighted down by their weapons, body armor and equipment.

By 1030 am local time, the men were completely exhausted, but still had to defeat the enemy controlling the top of the hill – a mere 50 meters from their position. With the arrival of the ten men of Razor 02, the Rangers prepared to assault the enemy bunkers. As the Air Force CCT called in a last airstrike on the enemy bunkers and with two machineguns providing suppression fire, seven Rangers stormed the hill as quickly as they could in the knee-deep snow – shooting and throwing grenades. Within minutes, the Rangers took the hill, killing multiple al Qaeda. The Rangers began to consolidate their position on the top of the mountain, which the platoon leader deemed more defendable -and safer for their wounded. The Rangers, Army crewmembers, and Air Force personnel began moving the wounded up the steep slope; it took four to six men to move one casualty ­ it was a difficult and slow process.

As the soldiers moved the wounded, additional al Qaeda began firing from a small ridgeline some 400 meters to the rear of the downed helicopter’s position. The wounded at the casualty collection point were completely exposed to the enemy fire, as were the PJ and medic tending to them. While the Rangers maneuvered to return fire, enemy fire struck the Army medic and PJ at the casualty collection point as they worked on their patients. Rangers and helicopter crewmen alike risked their lives, exposing themselves to enemy fire, to pull the wounded to the relative safety of nearby rocks. Once again, the combat controller called in close air support, and a few well-placed bombs and Ranger machinegun fire eventually silenced the enemy fire. Unfortunately, this attack claimed another life. The stricken PJ, Senior Airman Jason Cunningham, eventually succumbed to his wounds. Throughout the ensuing hours, the Americans continued to take sporadic sniper and mortar fire.

The Rangers consolidated their position, moved their dead and wounded to the top of the hill, and waited for a night extraction. The enemy air defense and ground situation in the vicinity of Takur Ghar did not lend itself to another daylight rescue attempt using helicopters. Throughout the day, observation posts on adjoining hilltops, manned by Australian and American SOF, called in fire on al Qaeda forces attempting to reinforce the mountaintop.

At about 2015 local time, four helicopters from the 160 th SOAR extracted both the Rangers on Takur Ghar and the SEALs down the mountainside. Two hours later, the survivors and their fallen comrades were back at their base. A team of experienced medical staff of the 274 th Forward Surgical Team, operating out of the Bagram airport tower, awaited the eleven wounded personnel. Their quick and professional medical treatment likely saved the hand of a wounded pilot. By morning, all the wounded were headed to hospitals in Germany and elsewhere. Operation ANACONDA would continue for another 19 days. These same units continued to play a decisive role in defeating the al Qaeda in the largest Coalition ground combat operation thus far in the war against terrorism.

AWARDS AND CRITERIA FOR EACH

Silver Star

For gallantry in action. The required gallantry, while of a lesser degree than that required for the award of the Medal of Honor or Distinguished Service Cross, must, nevertheless, have been performed with marked distinction.

Bronze Star Medal with “V” Device

For acts of heroism not involving participating in aerial flight, which are of lesser degree than required for the award of the Silver Star.

Bronze Star Medal

For meritorious service or achievement, not involving participation in aerial flight. Awards may be made to recognize single acts of merit or meritorious service. The required achievement or service, while of lesser degree than that required for the award of Legion of Merit, must nevertheless have been meritorious and accomplished with distinction.

CITATIONS

The President of the United States of America, authorized by an Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, has awarded the

SILVER STAR

STAFF SERGEANT ARIN K. CANON

UNITED STATES ARMY

FOR GALLANTRY:

in action against the enemy during the period of 3 March 2002 to 4 March 2002, in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. Staff Sergeant Canon’s valorous actions while in direct contact with enemy forces and in the face of extreme duress during the successful rescue of Special Operators contributed immeasurably to the success of the mission and to the saving of additional lives. Staff Sergeant Canon led the support element during the initial assault on an enemy fortified position.  His leadership was instrumental in suppressing the objective and protecting the assault enemy. Immediately following this action, he coordinated the defense of the entire objective, placing personnel and key weapon systems that enabled the platoon to defeat two enemy counterattacks. The gallantry displayed by Staff Sergeant Canon during 18 hours of combat is in keeping with the highest standards of valor.  Through his distinctive accomplishments, Staff Sergeant Canon reflected credit upon himself, the United States Army, and the Department of Defense.

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Executive Order, 24 August 1962 has awarded the

BRONZE STAR
WITH “V” DEVICE

SPECIALIST CHRIS M. CUNNINGHAM

UNITED STATES ARMY

FOR EXCEPTIONALLY MERITORIOUS SERVICE:

While serving as a squad automatic weapon gunner during Operation Enduring Freedom. Specialist Cunningham’s valorous actions, in particular during a battle on 4 March 2002, contributed immeasurably to the tremendous success of a Task Force. Specialist Cunningham was an integral member of the assault force that attacked a fortified enemy position to relieve the pressure on Chalk 1, who had been fighting the enemy for over two hours.  Specialist Cunningham was instrumental in providing security for the aid and litter teams and facilitated the consolidation of all casualties to a safe area. The gallantry displayed by Specialist Cunningham during 18 hours of combat is in keeping with the highest standards for valor.  Specialist Cunningham’s accomplishments reflect great credit upon him, this command and the United States Army.

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Executive Order, 24 August 1962 has awarded the

BRONZE STAR
WITH “V” DEVICE

SPECIALIST OSCAR J. ESCANO

UNITED STATES ARMY

FOR EXCEPTIONALLY MERITORIOUS SERVICE:

While serving as a M203 gunner during Operation Enduring Freedom. Specialist Escano’s valorous actions, in particular during a battle on 4 March 2002, contributed immeasurably to the tremendous success of a Task Force.  Specialist Escano was an integral member of the assault force that moved over 2 hours through arduous terrain to destroy an enemy fortified position and relieve the pressure on Chalk 1. Additionally, Specialist Escano assisted in providing security for aid and litter teams during two counterattacks by enemy forces. The gallantry displayed by Specialist Escano during 18 hours of combat is in keeping with the highest standards for valor. Specialist Escano’s accomplishments reflect great credit upon him, this command and the United States Army.

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Executive Order, 24 August 1962 has awarded the

BRONZE STAR
WITH “V” DEVICE

SERGEANT PATRICK GEORGE

UNITED STATES ARMY

FOR EXCEPTIONALLY MERITORIOUS SERVICE:

While serving as a team leader during Operation Enduring Freedom. Sergeant George’s valorous actions, in particular during a battle on 4 March 2002, contributed immeasurably to the tremendous success of a Task Force.  Sergeant George moved for two hours with Chalk 2 over arduous terrain at an extremely high altitude and under enemy fire. Sergeant George led the assault on an enemy fortified position to relieve the enemy pressure on Chalk 1. Additionally, he played a critical role in securing the objective and consolidating the casualties. The gallantry displayed by Sergeant George during 18 hours of combat is in keeping with the highest standards for valor. Sergeant George’s accomplishments reflect great credit upon him, this command and the United States Army.

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Executive Order, 24 August 1962 has awarded the

BRONZE STAR
WITH “V” DEVICE

PRIVATE FIRST CLASS DAVID B. GILLIAM

UNITED STATES ARMY

FOR EXCEPTIONALLY MERITORIOUS SERVICE:

While serving as a M240B machine gunner during Operation Enduring Freedom. Private First Class Gilliam’s valorous actions, in particular during a battle on 4 March 2002, contributed immeasurably to the tremendous success of a Task Force. Private First Class Gilliam immediately exited the aircraft and suppressed the enemy.  He was able to suppress the fortified enemy bunker while a four-man element assaulted the position. Private First Class Gilliam played an integral role in the entire operation by providing suppression on enemy positions to facilitate the capture of the high ground, the defeat of two enemy counterattacks and the consolidation of friendly wounded. His gallantry during 18 hours of combat is in keeping with the highest standards for valor. Private First Class Gilliam’s accomplishments reflect great credit upon him, this command and the United States Army.

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Executive Order, 24 August 1962 has awarded the

BRONZE STAR
WITH “V” DEVICE

SPECIALIST RANDY J. PAZDER

UNITED STATES ARMY

FOR EXCEPTIONALLY MERITORIOUS SERVICE:

While serving as a M240B machine gunner during Operation Enduring Freedom. Specialist Pazder’s valorous actions, in particular during a battle on 4 March 2002, contributed immeasurably to the tremendous success of a Task Force.  Specialist Pazder moved with Chalk 2 over arduous terrain at an extremely high altitude and under heavy enemy fire to relieve enemy pressure on Chalk 1. Specialist Pazder suppressed the enemy fortified and facilitated the assault on the enemy position. The gallantry displayed by Specialist Pazder during 18 hours of combat is in keeping with the highest standards for valor. Through his distinctive accomplishments, Specialist Pazder’s actions reflect great credit upon him, this command and the United States Army.

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Executive Order, 24 August 1962 has awarded the

BRONZE STAR
WITH “V” DEVICE

SPECIALIST JONAS O. POLSON

UNITED STATES ARMY

FOR EXCEPTIONALLY MERITORIOUS SERVICE:

While serving as a squad automatic weapon gunner during Operation Enduring Freedom. Specialist Polson’s actions, in particular during a battle on 4 March 2002, contributed immeasurably to the tremendous success of a Task Force.  Specialist Polson moved under direct and indirect enemy fire to link up with Chalk 1, which was under enemy fire for over two hours. As part of the Assault Force, he moved over arduous terrain at an extremely difficult altitude to provide integral suppressive fires on the enemy. The gallantry displayed by Specialist Polson during 18 hours of combat is in keeping with the highest standards for valor. Specialist Polson’s accomplishments reflect great credit upon him, this command and the United States Army.

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Executive Order, 24 August 1962 has awarded the

BRONZE STAR
WITH “V” DEVICE

SPECIALIST OMAR J. VELA

UNITED STATES ARMY

FOR EXCEPTIONALLY MERITORIOUS SERVICE:

While serving as an M240B assistant gunner during Operation Enduring Freedom. Specialist Vela’s valorous actions, in particular during a battle on 4 March 2002, contributed immeasurably to the tremendous success of a Task Force. Specialist Vela moved with Chalk 2 to relieve the enemy pressure on Chalk 1. The assault force movement culminated in an assault on an enemy fortified position where Specialist Vela was integral to suppressing the enemy. Specialist Vela assisted the aid and litter teams and provided security under a withering enemy counterattack. The gallantry displayed by Specialist Vela during 18 hours of combat is in keeping with the highest standards for valor. Specialist Vela’s accomplishments reflect great credit upon him, this command and the United States Army.

The President of the United States of America, authorized by an Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, has awarded the

SILVER STAR

SERGEANT MATTHEW LAFRENZ

UNITED STATES ARMY

FOR GALLANTRY:

in action against the enemy during the period of 3 March 2002 to 4 March 2002, while serving as a Platoon Medic in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. Sergeant LaFrenz’s valorous actions while in direct contact with enemy forces and in the face of extreme duress during the successful rescue of Special Operators contributed immeasurably to the success of the mission and to the saving of additional lives.  In five separate occasions, Sergeant LaFrenz exposed himself to enemy fire while providing medical support to casualties. Sergeant LaFrenz was able to consolidation all casualties within four hours providing aid to nine casualties in an exhausting frigid environment.  The gallantry displayed by Sergeant LaFrenz during 18 hours of combat is in keeping with the highest standards of valor. Through his distinctive accomplishments, Sergeant LaFrenz reflected credit upon himself, the United States Army, and the Department of Defense.

The President of the United States of America, authorized by an Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, has awarded the

SILVER STAR

SPECIALIST AARON LANCASTER-TOTTEN

UNITED STATES ARMY

FOR GALLANTRY:

in action against the enemy during the period of 3 March 2002 to 4 March 2002, while serving as a Squad Automatic Weapon Gunner in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. Specialist Lancaster-Totten’s valorous actions while in direct contact with enemy forces and in the face of extreme duress during the successful rescue of Special Operators contributed immeasurably to the success of the mission and to the saving of additional lives. While exiting the aircraft, Specialist Lancaster-Totten was severely wounded by shrapnel. With total disregard for his well being, Specialist Lancaster-Totten continued to engage the enemy from a covered and concealed position.  His ability to provide suppressive fire enabled the assault element to break contact from the enemy. The gallantry displayed by Specialist Lancaster-Totten during 18 hours of combat is in keeping with the highest standards of valor. Through his distinctive accomplishments, Specialist Lancaster-Totten reflected credit upon himself, the United States Army, and the Department of Defense.

The President of the United States of America, authorized by an Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, has awarded the

SILVER STAR

CAPTAIN NATHAN E. SELF

UNITED STATES ARMY

FOR GALLANTRY:

in action against the enemy during the period of 3 March 2002 to 4 March 2002, while serving as a Platoon Leader in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. Captain Self’s valorous actions while in direct contact with enemy forces and in the face of extreme duress during the successful rescue of Special Operators contributed immeasurably to the success of the mission and to the saving of additional lives.  While exiting the aircraft, Captain Self was severely wounded in the thigh. With total disregard for his well being, he fought to the first covered and concealed position, engage the enemy with his weapon, gathering remaining combat effective Rangers, and began calling close air support on enemy locations. The gallantry displayed by Captain Self during 18 hours of combat is in keeping with the highest standards of valor. Through his distinctive accomplishments, Captain Self reflected credit upon himself, the United States Army, and the Department of Defense.

The President of the United States of America, authorized by an Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, has awarded the

SILVER STAR

SERGEANT ERIC W. STEBNER

UNITED STATES ARMY

FOR GALLANTRY:

in action against the enemy during the period of 3 March 2002 to 4 March 2002, while serving as a Squad Leader in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. Sergeant Stebner’s valorous actions while in direct contact with enemy forces and in the face of extreme duress during the successful rescue of Special Operators contributed immeasurably to the success of the mission and to the saving of additional lives. Sergeant Stebner organized an assault against an enemy fortified position. He led all aid and litter teams under withering enemy counterattack fire during consolidation of all casualties. This action took over four hours during which Sergeant Stebner personally exposed himself to enemy fire at least five times in order to save his fellow comrades. Through his distinctive accomplishments, Sergeant Stebner reflected credit upon himself, the United States Army, and the Department of Defense.

The President of the United States of America, authorized by an Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, has awarded the

SILVER STAR

SERGEANT JOSHUA J. WALKER

UNITED STATES ARMY

FOR GALLANTRY:

in action against the enemy during the period of 3 March 2002 to 4 March 2002, while serving as a Fire Team Leader in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.  Sergeant Walker’s valorous actions while in direct contact with enemy forces and in the face of extreme duress during the successful rescue of Special Operators contributed immeasurably to the success of the mission and to the saving of additional lives. Sergeant Walker immediately exited the aircraft and destroyed an enemy soldier who was shooting at his aircraft. He was able to suppress the enemy with his M4 carbine, an M249 squad automatic weapon, and an M203 grenade launcher.  Sergeant Walker was an integral part of a four-man assault force that moved up a deep slope, in knee-deep snow, through a hail of enemy fire in broad daylight. The gallantry displayed by Sergeant Walker during 18 hours of combat is in keeping with the highest standards of valor. Through his distinctive accomplishments, Sergeant Walker reflected credit upon himself, the United States Army, and the Department of Defense.

The President of the United States of America, authorized by an Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, has awarded the

SILVER STAR

STAFF SERGEANT HARPER WILMOTH

UNITED STATES ARMY

FOR GALLANTRY:

in action against the enemy during the period of 3 March 2002 to 4 March 2002, while serving as a Squad Leader in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. Staff Sergeant Wilmoth’s valorous actions while in direct contact with enemy forces and in the face of extreme duress during the successful rescue of Special Operators contributed immeasurably to the success of the mission and to the saving of additional lives. Staff Sergeant Wilmoth coordinated the linkup with Chalk 1 over arduous terrain, at an extremely high altitude, and under enemy direct and indirect fire. After the linkup, Staff Sergeant Wilmoth organized the assault on an enemy fortified position. The gallantry displayed by Staff Sergeant Wilmoth during 18 hours of combat is in keeping with the highest standards of valor.  Through his distinctive accomplishments, Staff Sergeant Wilmoth reflected credit upon himself, the United States Army, and the Department of Defense.

 

 

Approved ASSAULT LANDING CREDITS for Operations IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF) and ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF) para 7-25, AR 600-80-22

**Copies of the Permanent Orders (PO) may be obtained from the listed unit.  The PO will also be confirmed in the next published Department of the Army General Order (DAGO).

Unit Name

Type of Assault

Period

Location

ORDER/DAGO

Detachment, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 75th Ranger Regiment

Parachute (see notes 1 & 2)

1845Z 19 October 2001 to 0014Z 20 October 2001

Helmand Desert, Afghanistan

HQDA PO 058-02, dtd 27 Feb 04; DAGO pending

Detachment, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment

Parachute (see notes 1 & 2)

1845Z 19 October 2001 to 0014Z 20 October 2001

Helmand Desert, Afghanistan

HQDA PO 058-02, dtd 27 Feb 04; DAGO pending

Detachment, Company A, 3d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment

Parachute (see notes 1 & 2)

1845Z 19 October 2001 to 0014Z 20 October 2001

Helmand Desert, Afghanistan

HQDA PO 058-02, dtd 27 Feb 04; DAGO pending

Detachment, Company C, 3d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment

Parachute (see notes 1 & 2)

1845Z 19 October 2001 to 0014Z 20 October 2001

Helmand Desert, Afghanistan

HQDA PO 058-02, dtd 27 Feb 04; DAGO pending

Detachment, Company B, 3d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment

Parachute (see notes 1 & 2)

1800Z – 2334Z 13 November 2001

in the vicinity of Alimarden Kan-E-Bagat, Afghanistan

HQDA PO 058-02, dtd 27 Feb 04; DAGO pending

Detachment, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment

Parachute (see notes 1 & 2)

1345-1445Z 25 February 2003

near Chahar Borjak, Nimruz Province, Afghanistan

HQDA PO 037-01, dtd 6 Feb 04; DAGO pending

Detachment, Company A, 2d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment

Parachute (see notes 1 & 2)

1345-1445Z 25 February 2003

near Chahar Borjak, Nimruz Province, Afghanistan

HQDA PO 037-01, dtd 6 Feb 04; DAGO pending

Detachment, Company C, 2d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment

Parachute (see notes 1 & 2)

1345-1445Z 25 February 2003

near Chahar Borjak, Nimruz Province, Afghanistan

HQDA PO 037-01, dtd 6 Feb 04; DAGO pending

Detachment, Company B, 3d Battalion, 504th Infantry

Parachute (see notes 1 & 2)

1345-1445Z 25 February 2003

near Chahar Borjak, Nimruz Province, Afghanistan

HQDA PO 037-01, dtd 6 Feb 04; DAGO pending

Company C, 3d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment

Parachute (see notes 1 & 2)

1830-2230Z 24 March 2003

Northwestern desert region of Iraq, in the vicinity of the town of Al Qaim, near the Syrian boarder

HQDA PO 257-03, dtd 13 Sep 04; DAGO pending

Detachment, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment

Parachute (see notes 1 & 2)

1830-2230Z 24 March 2003

Northwestern desert region of Iraq, in the vicinity of the town of Al Qaim, near the Syrian boarder

HQDA PO 257-03, dtd 13 Sep 04; DAGO pending

Detachment, 24th Special Tactics Squadron (USAF)

Parachute (see notes 1 & 2)

1830-2230Z 24 March 2003

Northwestern desert region of Iraq, in the vicinity of the town of Al Qaim, near the Syrian boarder

HQDA PO 257-03, dtd 13 Sep 04; DAGO pending

Company A, 3d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment

Parachute (see notes 1 & 2)

1835Z 28 March 2003 to 1200Z 29 March 2003

At H1 airfield in western Iraq, west of the Haditha Dam and the town of Haditha

HQDA PO 257-03, dtd 13 Sep 04; DAGO pending

Detachment, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment

Parachute (see notes 1 & 2)

1835Z 28 March 2003 to 1200Z 29 March 2003

At H1 airfield in western Iraq, west of the Haditha Dam and the town of Haditha

HQDA PO 257-03, dtd 13 Sep 04; DAGO pending

Detachment, 27th Engineer Battalion

Parachute (see notes 1 & 2)

1835Z 28 March 2003 to 1200Z 29 March 2003

At H1 airfield in western Iraq, west of the Haditha Dam and the town of Haditha

HQDA PO 257-03, dtd 13 Sep 04; DAGO pending

Detachment, 24th Special Tactics Squadron (USAF)

Parachute (see notes 1 & 2)

1835Z 28 March 2003 to 1200Z 29 March 2003

At H1 airfield in western Iraq, west of the Haditha Dam and the town of Haditha

HQDA PO 257-03, dtd 13 Sep 04; DAGO pending

NOTE 1:  Orders awarding the Combat Parachutist Badge may be issued to those service members who participated in the combat jump and are authorized the Parachutist Badge.

NOTE 2:  In accordance with paragraph 6-8, AR 600-8-22, the Arrowhead Device, which denotes participation in a combat parachute jump, helicopter assault landing, combat glider landing, or amphibious assault landing, will be worn on the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) Expeditionary Medal.