Two Green Berets from 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in a ceremony held at the John F. Kennedy Auditorium, June 14.
Chief Warrant Officer Jason W. Myers and Staff Sgt. Corey M. Calkins received the U.S. Army's second highest award for valor for two separate missions in Afghanistan in 2010. The Distinguished Service Cross is second only to the Medal of Honor.
"I am extremely honored and humbled to receive this award," said Calkins, a senior weapons sergeant and native of Midland, Mich. "I was just the one called on that day but I know any other guy on my team would have done the same thing."
Calkins distinguished himself, Feb. 18, 2010, as part of a dismounted patrol consisting of U.S. Army, Marines and Afghan National Army soldiers. During this patrol Calkins faced a formidable size enemy force in fortified positions. Facing this threat, Calkins assaulted his way through the area successfully suppressing the enemy force to allow the safe evacuation of three injured Marines.
"Corey Calkins constantly exposed himself to effective RPG, PKM and mortar fire as he almost single handedly routed the entrenched Taliban in order regain the vital terrain and to save the lives of his fellow Americans and Afghan partners," said Adm. William H. McRaven, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command.
During the ceremony, vignettes were presented describing the actions of Myers and Calkins. McRaven referenced the vignette when describing Calkins' ability to rally troops to action.
"The ANA, spurred on by Sergeant Calkins’ undaunted drive towards the enemy, hurled themselves against the enemy in an apparent effort to match their mentor’s bravery and aggression," said McRaven. "Undaunted drive…that says it all."
Only two months after Calkins' valorous actions Myers distinguished himself along a single lane road in the mountains of Afghanistan, March 27, where his patrol was ambushed by an enemy force of approximately 75 to 100 insurgents. During this ambush Myers took command of the situation by directing movement, returning fire and providing medical aid all while exposing himself to enemy machine guns and rocket propelled grenades.
"There are so many heroes on my team and I am just so honored to be here," said Myers. "I just did what needed to be done and I know that anyone else would have done the same."
"Chief Myers did what no normal man would do," said McRaven. "Chief Myers did what only a very small percentage of soldiers in the history of the U.S. Army have done - he fought his way out of a deadly ambush by constantly exposing himself to RPGs, and PKM fire and rallying his force, saving the lives of his Afghan and American partners and then taking the fight to the enemy until victory was assured."
Towards the conclusion of the ceremony McRaven put into perspective the actions of both Myers and Calkins and what it means to be a Green Beret.
"The Green Beret isn’t just a piece of headgear; it is a symbol of all that is good and right about America. It represents the finest soldiers ever to take the battlefield. Jason Myers and Corey Calkins represent all that is good about the men who wear the Green Beret," said McRaven. "For those that witnessed the actions of Chief Jason Myers and Staff Sgt. Corey Calkins on those fateful days in Afghanistan, they will forever be in awe."
"I want to thank you again for your incredible service to the Regiment, the Army and this great Nation. To the men of 3rd SFG, your reputation continues to grow. Your legacy will be found not in the wars that you fought, but in the men that fought them," said McRaven. "You, and the families that give you strength, have earned the respect and admiration of an entire nation."
Article by Staff Sgt. Marcus Butler, US Army Special Forces Command