Friday, May 08, 2015

Fullbore Friday

For today at least, we will suspend all AirFarce Jokes;
On Sept. 27, 2014, a team of U.S. Special Operations troops was dropped into a volatile village in Afghanistan’s Helmand province. The U.S. military had withdrawn thousands of troops from the country in the previous year, and the mission called for 21 Americans and about 60 Afghan commando counterparts to clear a bazaar of weapons and insurgents, and then get out.
“It was unlike anything I could have ever imagined…unlike anything you can prepare yourself for,” said Temple. “It all came back to training for me at that point. I remember thinking back to those days in training that were really tough, and now I realize they were preparing me for something like this.”

A teammate, U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Andrew Weathers, was gravely wounded by a sniper, and Temple put himself in the direct line of fire to drag his wounded teammate from a rooftop. At this same time, Goodman was under a barrage of machine-gun fire, with bullets narrowly missing his head by inches, according to the award citation. Still, Goodman secured his rooftop position in order to repel the insurgent force with close air support and his personal weapon.

With friendly forces taking fire from within 200 meters, Greiner and Goodman began coordinating multiple close air support strikes from AH-64 Apache attack helicopters on the closest threats while simultaneously coordinating danger-close mortar fire on enemy forces 300 meters away.

With a medical evacuation helicopter inbound, Temple once again risked his own life, carrying his wounded teammate across 100 meters of open terrain to a landing zone.

As overwhelming and accurate enemy machine gun fire suppressed Temple and his team, he remained on the open landing zone providing cover fire while his teammates pulled back.

After he returned to the compound, enemy fighters surged within 40 meters after intercepted communications stated, “Take the Americans alive.” Temple immediately directed danger-close F-16 Fighting Falcon strafing runs to repel the assault.

As the supplies dwindled during the 48-hour firefight, Temple braved open terrain several times to retrieve critical ammunition from a resupply helicopter. At the same time, Greiner coordinated precision airstrikes to cover Temple and the other Special Forces team members.

"These Airmen are much of the reason I am standing here today," said U.S. Army Capt. Evan Lacenski, Special Forces team leader for the combat controllers while deployed. "They were faced with one of the most significant battles of Operation Enduring Freedom, in my opinion, and they acted professionally, valorously, flawlessly and executed the mission. I couldn't ask for a better group of Airmen."

The men are credited with saving the lives of 21 U.S. Special Operations forces and approximately 60 Afghanistan commandos.

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