Friday, December 12, 2008

Balls. Big shiny ones.

Our armed forces are paid to do two things really well: kill people and break things. Oh sure, they do good humanitarian work along the way and sometimes are asked to help out with disasters when Mother Nature gets pissed, but their primary mission is to eliminate threats to this country. Most folks forget that with what Roger Waters calls the "bravery of being out of range".

One group of Special Forces soldiers had bravery but were very clearly in range, and now ten of them are being awarded the Silver Star for their actions in an unbelievable battle in Afghanistan.

A harrowing, nearly seven-hour battle unfolded on that mountainside in Afghanistan's Nuristan province on April 6, as Walton, his team and a few dozen Afghan commandos they had trained took fire from all directions. Outnumbered, the Green Berets fought on even after half of them were wounded — four critically — and managed to subdue an estimated 150 to 200 insurgents, according to interviews with several team members and official citations.

Today, Walton and nine of his teammates from Operational Detachment Alpha 3336 of the 3rd Special Forces Group will receive the Silver Star for their heroism in that battle — the highest number of such awards given to the elite troops for a single engagement since the Vietnam War.


"We were pretty much in the open, there were no trees to hide behind," said Morales, who with Walton pulled Behr back to their position. Morales cut open Behr's fatigues and applied pressure to his bleeding hip, even though Morales himself had been shot in the right thigh. A minute later, Morales was hit again, in the ankle, leaving him struggling to treat himself and his comrade, he said. Absent any cover, Walton moved the body of the dead Afghan interpreter to shield the wounded.


As Ford and Staff Sgt. John Wayne Walding returned fire, Walding was hit below his right knee. Ford turned and saw that the bullet "basically amputated his right leg right there on the battlefield."

Walding, of Groesbeck, Tex., recalled: "I literally grabbed my boot and put it in my crotch, then got the boot laces and tied it to my thigh, so it would not flop around. There was about two inches of meat holding my leg on." He put on a tourniquet, watching the blood flow out the stump to see when it was tight enough.

Un-frigging-believable these guys are. I would have been crying like a little girl with a skinned knee. Damned glad (and proud) we have guys like this on our side.


Eric said...

Right on... meet these guys and you'll be even more impressed. Humble and gracious. Makes you wonder what they ate for breakfast as kids. Pray for theirs and their brethren's safety.

Bluey said...

I read this story before. It is truly amazing how they held together through it all. Quite inspirational!