View Full Version : Green Berets recognized during award ceremony

02-18-2011, 10:18

Soldiers honored for their courage
Green Berets recognized during award ceremony
Rick Wood/Northwest Guardian
Published: 04:37PM February 17th, 2011
Ingrid Barrentine

Sgt. 1st Class John Howell smiles after receiving the Bronze Star Medal with V device during a 1st SFG valor award ceremony Feb. 11 at Evergreen Theater on JBLM. At the ceremony, nine Soldiers received the Bronze Star Medal with V device, nine received the Army Commendation Medal with V device, and two were awarded Purple Heart medals.

The Army recognized members of 1st Special Forces Group for uncommon valor during a medal award ceremony Feb. 11.

Green Berets from Special Operations Task Force 12 and Advanced Operating Base 1310 received nine Bronze Star medals for valor, nine Army Commendation medals for valor and two Purple Hearts.

Commander Col. Francis Beaudette said the Soldiers’ actions went well above the call of duty.

“They didn’t win anything or (get) awarded something because of (just) who they are,” Beaudette said. “I have seen incredible courage and heroism routinely displayed in battlefield challenges.”

The combat environment in Afghanistan is full of peril, he said. Reacting to those perils and successfully completing the mission is a part of daily life.

“It is fundamentally what every Green Beret expects of himself and those around him, day in and day out,” Beaudette said. “It’s game on all the time, as we say downrange.”

Every Special Forces team member knows the inherent dangers and puts his life on the line, he said.

“So to me, it’s even that much more incredible and impressive that we have those who stand out from even that incredible standard, and it’s those ... men we are recognizing today,” Beaudette said.

The sacrifices and valor of the Soldiers receiving medals are unique in their selflessness and measure, he said.

Five of the Bronze Star Medal recipients fought in the same engagement against insurgents in a small village in Afghanistan.

Bronze Star Medal recipient Capt. Ben Johnson said receiving the medal pales in comparison to knowing he did his job well.

“Just getting all my guys out of there alive, getting everyone out safely, that’s what’s important to me,” Johnson said.

With one of his team members wounded, it became important to suppress enemy fire and do it quickly, he said.

“Knowing I got everyone back home was important,” Johnson said.

Former Team Leader Capt. Phil Kornachuk said it was a brutal fight that lasted for hours.

“There were two fights, one on recon patrol behind what happened at an enemy headquarters building and the tunnels underneath it,” Kornachuk said. “Meanwhile, there were additional people coming from the outside.”

Army intelligence later estimated the Special Forces teams went up against 300 Taliban fighters, he said.

“The main thing was to keep from getting surrounded and cut off,” Kornachuk said. Sergeant 1st Class Corey Richardson was with some commandos in a sniper position on high ground and held off between 50 to 100 enemy fighters.

“Everyone up in his position got wounded one way or another and he wouldn’t come down,” Kornachuk said. “We tried to pull him back and he said if he comes down ‘you guys are going to get cut off. I gotta stay here.’”

1st Special Forces Group medal recipients

Bronze Star Medal with valor device awardees:

• Capt. Ben Johnson

• Master Sgt. Christopher Schleif

• Staff Sgt. Jeremy Hobbie

• Master Sgt. Byrnice Fernandez

• Sgt. 1st Class John Howell

• Sgt. 1st Class Corey Richardson

• Staff Sgt. Robert Cogan

• Staff Sgt. Wyatt Goldsmith

• Staff Sgt. Charles Martland

Army Commendation Medal with valor device awardees:

• Staff Sgt. David Breger

• Sgt. Kenneth Yaw

• Sgt. 1st Class Levi Lynch

• Sgt. Benjamin King

• Staff Sgt. Stephen Brown

• Staff Sgt. Alexander Dech

• Staff Sgt. Brady Delivuk

• Sgt. 1st Class John McKeown

• Sgt. 1st Class Trevor Hunter

Purple Heart recipients:

• Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Anderson

• Sgt. 1st Class Jesse Prater
Rick Wood: rick.wood@nwguardian.com

02-18-2011, 10:22
Congratulations Gentlemen. Those medals were well deserved and I thank you for your service and sacrifice. It does not go unnoticed.

02-18-2011, 10:51
I am honored to know a lot of these guys and call them Brother!!!!! Congrats again guys!!!!!

02-18-2011, 10:58
Once again these Green Berets show who we are and what we are.................. :lifter Makes me proud to be one...................:lifter De Oppresso Liber,Warriors............:lifter

Big Teddy ;)

02-18-2011, 13:23
Each and every one of these guys did an outstanding job. I would expect another awards ceremony later, because I know that there are still several award recommendations outstanding for the AOB 1310 guys. Again, job well done!!