CNO presents Silver Star, Bronze Star to SEALS


Fox Raiders
Jul 2, 2007
San Diego, CA
The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Mike Mullen personally presented five medals to members of Naval Special Warfare during his visit July 20 at the Naval Amphibious Base.

Their citations read like a script from an action movie, attributing their exposure to fire, saving of lives, training Iraqi forces and disrupting Al Queda.

Special Warfare Operator 1st Class (SEAL) Benjamin A. Oleson was awarded the Silver Star for his actions last year in Ramadi, Iraq. While engaging the enemy, Oleson came to the rescue of a wounded SEAL, exposing himself to enemy fire. While dragging the SEAL to safety, Oleson poured suppressing fire into enemy positions and then administered first aid to the wounded man. After he helped evacuate the casualty, Oleson again returned fire to the enemy. His actions that day were noted in his citation as conspicuously gallant.

Master Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Walter S. Dittmar was awarded the Bronze Star for his actions during a deployment to Iraq that ended in April 2006. Credited with contributing to the successful completion of 140 combat operations and training 135 Iraqi Army Scouts while enduring "constant exposure to enemy mortar, rocket, rocket-propelled grenade, sniper and improvised explosive device attacks" during six months in country. These efforts led to the capture of 39 insurgents and the death of many more. In a specific action, he courageously fought off an enemy attack and led his team to safety.

According to his citation for a Bronze Star, Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Hans G. Garcia was a "critical" part of foreign internal defense training of Iraqi forces. Under his tutelage, a 20-man joint special operations team trained 90 Iraqi soldiers. As the senior tactical advisor for more than 40 direct action operations, he was partly responsible for the detention of 90 insurgents and the capture of more than 80 weapons and explosives, resulting in the disruption of terrorist networks.

Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Robert W. Clark demonstrated "heroic achievement" during a firefight in Ramadi. Shortly after infiltrating an insurgent stronghold and without regard to his own safety, Clark exposed himself to enemy fire and directed a coordinated counterattack against enemy forces while summoning reinforcements. His cool-headed direction was credited with saving the lives of his men and earned him the Bronze Star.

Special Warfare Operator 1st Class (SEAL) Charles Melton was awarded the Bronze Star for his professionalism during multiple combat operations, including a specific combat action, and in his duty as an instructor for Iraqi forces. While on a sniper watch, Melton's position was discovered by five insurgents. Exposing himself to fire, he tossed a grenade that killed or wounded the approaching force. Melton was also credited with training 200 Iraqi Army commandos and policemen.

"I don't think there's any community or any capability we have in the Navy, or I would argue, in the nation, that is better at evolving against the threat and being where you need to be with the capability you need to have than this community," said Mullen.

Family members of the Sailors and their comrades watched with pride as Mullen pinned the medals on the chests of the heroic SEALs.

"I just want to reiterate how much your being here and your support means to the success of the … awardees today," Mullen said to the families. "This isn't just about sacrifices men and women make in uniform, it's about sacrifices … many families make."

Following the ceremony, Mullen spoke with the Naval Special Warfare community and held an all hands call. Mullen took questions and spoke about, among other things, leadership.

"I can look at Petty Officer Oleson this morning and easily talk about leadership," he said. "It's leading from the front, the middle, the back, from the junior ranks to the mid-grade ranks right up to the top."

Addressing the men and women of Naval Special Warfare assembled before him, Mullen said, "You are as vital as any part, if not the most vital of any part of our military to winning this war."

For more information on Naval Special Warfare visit the website:
Congratulations to the operators for their outstanding bravery and service.

Of course you won't read this story in a syndicated news service or see it on any television channels...