Deleted member 2517
Congrats to Sergeant Birlean!
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (USASOC News Service, May 24, 2011) ― The streets of Fayetteville, N.C., are a little safer thanks to the quick thinking and initiative of a recent Special Forces Qualification Course graduate.
Sgt. Valentin Birlean was assigned to the 1st Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne) awaiting transfer to the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Carson, Colo.
In mid-April, Birlean, his wife and son were enjoying their last weeks in Fayetteville before moving the family out west. They were headed toward a local park when Birlean noticed a police officer in need of assistance.
A Fayetteville police officer was conducting what seemed to be a routine traffic stop at an intersection. The officer and the car’s owner stood nearby.
Suddenly, the owner of the car grabbed his backpack which was being searched and started running. The police officer attempted to chase after him, but was pushed to the ground.
Birlean didn’t think twice; he threw his car into park, jumped out and chased after the man, who didn’t expect to have to compete with a Special Forces Soldier who could run five miles in less than 37 minutes.
Even in flip-flops, it didn’t take Birlean long to catch up with and subdue the suspect.
“I saw the fight break out; he pushed her (the police officer) to the ground and grabbed his bag,” Birlean said. “After I caught him, I just tackled him.”
Birlean said he held the man on the ground until the police officer caught up and put the suspect in handcuffs.
Did the suspect put up much of a fight?
“He couldn’t do anything,” Birlean said. “I had him in a choke hold, so he couldn’t move at all.”
During the traffic stop, the suspect had given consent to the officer to conduct a vehicle search. The backpack the officer was searching held 388 grams of marijuana, according to the Fayetteville Police Department.
When the police department called the 4th Battalion, 1st SWTG (A) headquarters, Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Berry, the battalion’s senior NCO, held his breath.
Usually, calls from the police to a Soldier’s command group are bad signs.
In this case, the phone call was made to recognize and commend Birlean’s actions.
Birlean and his 4th Battalion leadership attended the department’s annual awards banquet, where he was recognized in front of hundreds of current and retired police officers and city officials.
“Sgt. Birlean tackled the suspect and wrestled him to the ground until he could be handcuffed by a police officer,” said a police department spokesperson during the ceremony. “If not for [his actions], the suspect would’ve eluded the police and escaped custody.”
Birlean, who has since reported to Fort Carson as a new member on a Special Forces operational detachment, said any of his peers or classmates would have done the same thing in that situation.
“There were at least three other cars at that intersection, but they just stayed in their cars,” he said.
Soldiers are assessed and selected for Special Forces training based on a specific set of character attributes: integrity, courage, perseverance, personal responsibility, professionalism, and adaptability.