Two 25th Infantry Division soldiers have received high honors for their combat-heroics last fall, during their first deployment to Afghanistan.
Gunner Specialist Craig Middleton's unit was on a reconnaissance mission when their 5-vehicle convoy, was suddenly hit with a barrage of enemy RPG's. Ignoring his own lower-limb shrapnel injuries, Specialist Middleton returned fire with his vehicle's grenade launcher, then, closer-in, with his M-4 rifle, while tended to the significant wounds of the two Air Force combat air controllers riding with him. He didn't seek help for his own injuries until further medical treatment was available for his badly-wounded Air Force brethren. Specialist Craig Middleton was still dealing with imbedded shrapnel in his legs when his Division Commander pinned on his Silver Star in a ceremony last week.
Army medic Specialist Jeffrey Conn was helping construct a new outpost for the Afghan Army, when the enemy launched a series of attacks, that would span several days. Specialist Conn not only fought back, continuously, in the thick of it, but with injured unit members upper-most in his mind, he continually braved enemy-fire tending to the wounded. When a Medevac helicopter arrived, the on-board flight medic was, himself, badly injured. Specialist Conn rushed through the fire-fight to his aid as well. For his heroic-efforts to administer expert medical attention, while fighting to protect others, at that same ceremony, Specialist Jeffrey Conn, too, was awarded the Silver Star, the nation's third-highest for combat valor. Exceptional young men, as are all of America's finest, the men and women who continually answer America's call in defense of country and freedom.