Sgt. 1st Class Richard J. Olson Jr., 32, Spencer, Mass., received a Silver Star for leading a combined task force on Aug. 10 to rid the provincial headquarters in Logar, Afghanistan, of Taliban fighters. Stepping into enemy fire, Sgt. Olson rescued the governor of Logar and continued to secure the five-story building during a 51/2-hour fight.
Spc. Jesse R. Sprint, 24, St. James, Minn., received the Army Commendation Medal with Valor Device for his efforts on July 30. Spc. Sprint captured an enemy gunman. After facing enemy fire and an on-foot pursuit through an apple orchard, Spc. Sprint followed the enemy to his fortress, where he eventually captured him.
Cpl. Derrick V. Blackburn, 24, Florence, Ala., received the Bronze Star with Valor Device for his efforts on Sept. 12. Cpl. Blackburn's mounted patrol was struck by an improvised explosive device, launching one of the vehicles into the air. The vehicle eventually burst into flames and the patrol came under direct enemy fire. Cpl. Blackburn managed to secure the safety of the injured soldiers. He attempted to rescue the two soldiers trapped in the vehicle but could only remove their remains.
Maj. Gen. James L. Terry, 10th Mountain Division commander, said the men were called upon to serve selflessly and to support and defend the Constitution. They were trained to never accept defeat and never leave a fallen comrade, and he said that is exactly what they did.
Source: Watertown Daily Times