View Full Version : A-1/5th SFG(A) receives prestigous award

11-14-2008, 21:37

5th Group receives prestigous award
By JAKE LOWARY • The Leaf-Chronicle • November 14, 2008

Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group on Friday received the second-highest award for an Army unit Friday at Fort Campbell.

The company, which consisted of about 80 soldiers, defeated the Mahdi Militia and numerous Sunni insurgent groups during a period from July 20 to Dec. 1, 2004 in Iraq. By defeating the insurgent forces, the group helped liberate the cities of An-Najaf and Al-Fallujah and also paved the way for the first democratic election in modern Iraqi history.

Although the award was "long overdue," according to 5th SFG Commander Col. Christopher Conner, those in the unit said was simply important that the unit was recognized.

A ribbon was placed on the top of the company's colors to signify the achievement.

11-14-2008, 22:33
It would have been nice if they would have indicated WHAT the award was in the article:rolleyes:

I would think that it would be the Valorous Unit Award, which (IIRC) is secondary only to the Presidential Unit Citation.


11-15-2008, 08:12

Green Berets earn prestigious award
Valorous Unit Award equivalent to an individual receiving Silver Star
By JAKE LOWARY • The Leaf-Chronicle • November 15, 2008

It took four years, but the soldiers of Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group on Friday received the "overdue honors" they deserved.

The Green Berets, about 80 in total, were presented the Valorous Unit Award — the second-highest award for a military unit — for their efforts from July 20 to Dec. 1, 2004.

The award is considered the equivalent of an individual receiving the Silver Star.

Maj. Paul Pfeiffer, commander of A/1/5, as it is more commonly known, said it is "exceptionally rare for an element this small to be awarded this honor."

"Today we break from the routine," he said to the small crowd. "As Special Forces soldiers, we often pride ourselves at being the quiet professionals. We do our job — most of the time exceptionally well — and continue on with little fanfare."

Friday's ceremony was an exception.

During their six-month tour, the soldiers liberated two Iraqi cities — An-Najaf and Al-Fallujah — defeated the Mahdi Militia and several other Sunni insurgent groups and paved the way for the first democratic election in modern Iraqi history.

Over the course of their deployment, the soldiers earned 27 individual awards for valor, including the Silver Star, 13 Bronze Stars and seven Purple Hearts. They also lost a comrade, Capt. Mike Tarlavsky, who died Aug. 12, 2004, while leading a group of Iraqi counterparts on a raid in An-Najaf to capture Shiite extremists.

Master Sgt. Larry DeBusk earned a Bronze Star with Valor during that deployment.

Although Pfeiffer called the award "overdue," DeBusk said it was nice to finally get credit for the efforts he and his comrades had made. DeBusk will soon deploy to Iraq for the sixth time.

"It's nice to see the company is recognized for all of its hard work during that rotation," he said.

He also understands the delay.

"Things take a while in the Army," DeBusk said.

DeBusk said the election was a critical part of the deployment and the progress in Iraq. "We were a big part of that, and we're really proud of that," he said.

The company commander at the time, Lt. Col. Dean Franks, who in a few months time will take command of 1st Battalion, said he and the other soldiers on the parade field do get a sense of accomplishment from seeing the ribbons atop the company colors.

"It's just part of the bastion of freedom and liberty, the right to vote," he said.

Jake Lowary covers military affairs. He can be reached at 245-0719 or by e-mail at jakelowary@theleafchronicle.com.

11-15-2008, 09:08
Much better article.
Thanks Dan :cool:

11-15-2008, 11:01
Thanks for posting it and the update.

I never get tired of seeing our SF units get recognized for the blood and sweat that the have put in their Operations. They are truly a great example of QP's.

11-15-2008, 22:04
Great job, brothers!

11-19-2008, 05:03
Very cool for ANY SF Company. Extra pride when it's a 1/5 SFG Company.

Congrats, men!

11-19-2008, 06:28

RELEASE NUMBER: 0811018-01

Special Forces Company receives Valorous Unit Award
By Maj. April N. Olsen
5th Special Forces Group (A) PAO

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (USASOC News Service, Nov. 18, 2008) – “We often pride ourselves on being the Quiet Professionals,” said Maj. Paul Pfeiffer, referring to the moniker attributed to U.S. Army Green Berets. “Occasionally, the accomplishment is so great that we step away from that mold.”

Pfeiffer, the commander of Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), spoke of his unit’s service to a crowd gathered on Gabriel Field Nov. 14 during a ceremony to present Alpha Company the Valorous Unit Award.

He said it is exceptionally rare for a unit as small as a company to be awarded the VUA, but the award citation describes the unit’s success in Iraq.

From July 20 to December 1, 2004, Soldiers of Alpha Company distinguished themselves through exceptional courage under fire against enemy forces in central and southern Iraq. Through skillful execution of special operations against the Mahdi Militia and numerous insurgent groups, the company turned the tide of battle in southern Iraq. By destroying the largest enemy force there, Alpha Company contributed enormously to the liberation of An-Najaf and Al-Fallujah, setting the conditions for the first democratic election in modern Iraqi history.

The VUA is the second highest unit decoration bestowed upon a U.S. Army unit. It is considered the unit equivalent to an individual receiving the Silver Star.

“It’s a very prestigious award,” said Master Sgt. Larry DeBusk, who served as a senior medical sergeant during the 2004 tour.

Lt. Col. Dean Franks, now assigned to U.S. Army Special Forces Command at Fort Bragg, was the company commander of Alpha Company during the 2004 tour in Iraq.

“Today’s ceremony is more about the collective accomplishment of this group of men,” Franks said.

With ODAs – Operational Detachment Alphas – spread throughout central and southern Iraq, Franks said the shift to training Iraqis to defend and secure their own land changed the dynamic in the country, building credibility for the government and setting the conditions for elections.

“Through the work of the ISF [Iraqi Security Forces], they brought together a new phase for Iraq,” Franks said.

The company of less than a hundred, with an ODA attached from Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, suffered one fatality during the rotation. Twenty-seven Soldiers received valorous awards to include a Silver Star and 13 Bronze Star Medals with “V” device. Seven Purple Hearts were awarded during the rotation.

DeBusk was awarded the Bronze Star with “V” device for action in August 2004, during the battle for An-Najaf.

Now a team sergeant, DeBusk said he doesn’t look at the VUA as a personal accomplishment, but as recognition for what his company and fellow Soldiers was able to achieve.

“I get a lot of satisfaction from knowing the country [Iraq] has changed drastically from 2004 to now,” he said. DeBusk has completed five tours in Iraq, serving there every year since 2004. “They [Iraqi forces] are definitely moving in the right direction … Give them tools and resources and they’ll be successful.”

During the ceremony, 5th Group commander, Col. Chris Conner, told Soldiers, families and friends gathered that the Quiet Professionals of Special Forces do not seek public attention for their accomplishments.

“If pressed, any man in the Legion would tell you it is not recognition, glory or awards that he seeks – but the responsibility of being ready and capable and the honor of being present when needed by the man standing next to him.”

“Heroes are the ones who step up when everyone else backs down: men who are confident in their training and fellow Soldiers; men willing to sacrifice personal comfort for the greater good. That is what I see on the field today as the men of Alpha Company accept the Valorous Unit Award.”


11-21-2008, 22:32

Too Bad only a handful of guys were still there for the ceremony.

11-22-2008, 06:03
Great going guys.

I have a soft spot for 5th Group activities.

Abu Jack
11-22-2008, 06:41
I recognize SGM E. holding the guidon. We were Spec 4s together in the Scout Platoon of 1/38 Inf, 2nd ID in 1985.


11-25-2008, 09:15
It is heart warming to see the 5th still at the front of the fight. Congratulations to all.