High honors for an Army 4th ID soldier station at Fort Polk, Louisiana. Last September, then-Corporal Joshua Loughrey's platoon was dispatched to neutralize an enemy position, freshly bombed by our aircraft. Once there, the Americans were ambushed, then the militants fled back into the village. Several dismounted soldiers chased them into an underground hide-out. Soon, gunshots and an explosion were heard, followed by an urgent radio call for medical assistance. An insurgent had set off a grenade, seriously wounding platoon leadership, who, although able to wrestle the AK-47-firing militant to the ground, couldn't stop the grenade. Corporal Loughrey called for medical evacuation and a back-up force, then headed into the total darkness of the enemy cellar. With the only light provided by militant gun-fire, Loughrey and a comrade bravely swept through the multi-room dwelling, killing the remaining enemy. He then led ground-evacuation of the American wounded to meet the in-coming MEDIVAC helicopter.
For his heroics, credited with saving the lives of four badly-wounded platoon leaders, now-Sergeant Josh Loughrey was presented the Silver Star last week, our nation's third-highest for valor in combat. Making the occasion perhaps even more significant, the medal was pinned on Sergeant Loughrey by the Army's "top soldier," Army Chief of Staff, General Raymond Odierno. Another prime example of the heroics, most of which we may never hear about, of the outstanding, devoted young men and women, proudly serving our nation in America's truly-magnificent military.