Some very highly trained soldiers are playing particularly important roles in the war on terrorism. Now, more than 150 Army Rangers and an Air Force combat controller are being recognized for their bravery and service in Operation Enduring Freedom. Over 200 medals awards were presented to them for their roles in Operation Anaconda.
The First Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment has been a critical part of the war on terror.
"Men like these stand ready every day, both here and in other units in our great Army, to do the jobs necessary," Lt. Col. Michael Kershaw, First Battalion commander, said.
That's why they're being recognized for their service. The Army and Air Force Chiefs of Staff awarded 206 medals to these men, including two Purple Hearts, and 17 medals for valor and bravery.
SFC Charles Pressburg, who received the Bronze Star, said "I chose to become a member of the 75th due to the high standards and the personal courage of every person who is assigned to the unit."
"I was very, very proud," his mother Sandra told us. "There was no way I would have missed this."
For many Rangers, this is also a bittersweet day as they're awarded for bravery in Operation Anaconda. It was a mission that took the lives of three of their colleagues.
"It was an honor to receive the award today; but, it would have almost been nicer to receive a lesser award and come home with everybody that we went over there with," Sgt. Eric Stebner said.
Army Rangers Sgt. Bradley Crose, Spec. Marc Anderson, and PFC Matthew Commons were among seven soldiers killed in Operation Anaconda, but the actions of their fellow Rangers may have saved many more.
"It's humbling to be serving with a group of guys like this who can accomplish so much," said LTC Michael Kershaw.
The Rangers just returned from their second deployment to Afghanistan. They're now on leave, but those we spoke with say they're ready to deploy again to protect their country.