3rd SFG (Airborne) Receive Valor Awards
In the second largest award ceremony since the reactivation of the 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), thirty-seven Soldiers were recognized for their valorous actions in combat in Afghanistan, in a ceremony on Feb 25th, at the John F. Kennedy Auditorium.
Five Soldiers from 3rd SFG (A) received the Silver Star, 19 Soldiers received the Bronze Star with Valor device, 18 Soldiers will receive the Army Commendation Medal with Valor device, and five Soldiers received the Purple Heart.
During the ceremony, four battles involving members of the Group were highlighted in vingnettes presented by a team member who witnessed and recounted what occurred and the actions performed by each man receiving a medal. One engagement with enemy forces led to the entire Operational Detachment's receipt of an award for his heroic actions during a firefight.
The U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Deputy Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Kurt Fuller and the 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) Commander, Col. Mark Schwartz presented the awards to each Soldier.
Schwartz said during his remarks at the ceremony that it not the nature of the members of the Special Forces Regiment to seek recognition for their actions in combat.
"Every valor award recipient who came across the stage today will tell you they are simply doing their job," Schwartz said. "As your commander, there is no greater honor than to recognize these men. All of them are warriors who represent the finest caliber of Non-commissioned officers and officers that make up the ranks of our (Special Forces) group."
The following service members received awards for valor during the ceremony.
Bronze Star with Valor Device:
Capt. Timothy Driscoll Staff Sgt. James Benjamin
Capt. Patrick Macri Staff Sgt. Robert Bradford
Warrant Officer Joe Vasquez Staff Sgt. Benjamin Geesaman
Master Sgt. Sean Berk Master Sgt. Mike Vetra
Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin Burt Staff Sgt. Brett Grossini
Staff Sgt. Eoin Oriada Sgt. 1st Class Charles Garland
Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Plants Staff Sgt. Casey Parker
Sgt. 1st Class James Rooney Staff Sgt. Justin Schafer
Sgt. 1st Class Raymond Ysasaga Staff Sgt. David Stearns
Staff Sgt. Jamon A. Tibbs Staff Sgt. Timothy Walsh
Capt. Timothy Driscoll Staff Sgt. Grant Derrick
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jason Myers Staff Sgt. Van Meredith
Sgt. 1st Class Dereck Strickland
Army Commendation Medal with Valor Device:
Capt. Timothy Driscoll Sgt. 1st Class Mark Pawlewicz
Capt. Matthew Golsteyn Sgt. 1st Daniel Plants
Sgt. Major Patrick Rotsaert Sgt. 1st Class Eric Wagmer
Master Sgt. Lani Ringeisen Staff Sgt. Jeffery Carroll
Sgt. 1st Class Charles Garland Staff Sgt. Benjamin Geesaman
Sgt. 1st Class Charles Jones Staff Sgt. Silas Palance
Sgt. 1st Class Robert Martin Staff Sgt. Casey Parker
Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Sgt. Sean Tapia
The Silver Star Medal is awarded in recognition of a valorous act performed during combat operations while under direct fire from enemy forces. It may also denote an accomplishment of a heroic nature in direct support of operations against an enemy force.
Article by Capt. Jennifer Bocanegra