Seven Soldiers from 7th SFG(A) to receive Silver Stars


running up that hill
Jan 3, 2007
in Wonderland, with my Alice Archive/2010/August/100810-01.html

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (USASOC News Service, Aug. 10, 2010) – Seven Soldiers from 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) will be awarded the Silver Star Medal for their actions in combat in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom X and XII. Lt. Gen. John F. Mulholland, USASOC commanding general will present the awards.

The Silver Star is the Army’s third highest award for combat valor and is awarded for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States during military operations.
WHEN: Monday, Aug. 16, 2010, 2 p.m.

WHERE: Fort Bragg, NC. John F. Kennedy Auditorium adjacent to the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center

Registration Deadline: 4 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 13, 2010

Initial Media Information: Ground rules will be explained Monday, Aug. 16, 12:30 p.m. (upon arrival) at Stryker Golf course. Individual Soldier biographies, to include photographs, individual Soldiers’ narrative, award citation, and vignette are available upon request. Awardees will be available for pre and post ceremony interviews, for those media requesting interviews please call (910) 432-6005 or e-mail to schedule.

Location: Stryker Golf Course on Bragg Boulevard

Registration: Media wishing to cover the ceremony must contact USASOC Public Affairs Office no later than 4 p.m., August 13th. Please call (910) 432-6005 or e-mail to arrange attendance or coverage.

E-mail or call with the following information:
Name of the organization
Number of personnel attending
Names of personnel attending
A phone number where you can be reached after hours in case of schedule changes.
News assignment editor/Telephone number
Vehicle make/model/color; License Tag Number/State

*Please advise if you are bringing a satellite truck.
E-mail address to confirm receipt of your fax or e-mail.

Report Time: Confirmed registered media covering the ceremony should meet representatives of 7th SFG(A) PAO at 12:30 p.m. on Aug. 16 at Stryker Golf Course on Bragg Boulevard. The media convoy, escorted by 7th SFG(A) PAO representatives, will depart Stryker no later than 12:45 p.m.

Driving Directions
Coming from South: Take I-95 North towards Fayetteville. Take exit 46B for N Carolina 87 toward Fayetteville. Keep left at the fork to continue toward N Carolina 87 N. Take the N Carolina 24/N Carolina 87/Bragg Blvd exit. Course will be on left after passing Fort Bragg’s Knox Gate.
Coming from North: Take I-95 South towards Richmond. Take exit 52B to merge onto N Carolina 24 W toward Fayetteville. Travel approximately 10 miles on 24/Bragg Blvd Stryker Golf Course will be on left after passing Fort Bragg’s Knox Gate. Archive/2010/August/100817-04.html

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (USASOC News Service, Aug. 17, 2010) – Thunderous applause filled the John F. Kennedy Auditorium here as seven Soldiers, decorated with the nation’s third highest honor, took the stage at the conclusion of a 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) valor award ceremony Aug. 16.

The Soldiers were each awarded the Silver Star for heroic acts of valor displayed during the group’s deployment to Afghanistan from 2007-2008. One of the medals was posthumously awarded to Sgt. 1st Class David Nunez, which was presented to his brother, Spc. Rene Nunez of the 82nd Airborne Division.

“[These men] laid it all on the line and risked absolutely everything they care about in life for the sake of the mission at hand, and their partner and Afghan forces teammates on their left and right,” said Col. James Kraft, 7th SFG (A) commander. “Ladies and gentlemen, that’s true honor.”

Lt. Gen. John F. Mulholland, commanding general of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, was the host of the ceremony. He spoke of the pride and honor he felt in leading the men and women of Army Special Operations.

“Every day in Iraq, Afghanistan and in other countries around the world, American Special Operations Soldiers routinely and consistently exhibit enormously powerful acts of valor and courage on the field of battle,” Mulholland said.

As each of the seven Soldiers took the stage to be presented with a medal, vignettes were read about the astonishing actions they took to stop the enemy and protect their comrades.

“When confronted with danger in the fog and friction of close combat, without hesitation you went to the sound of the guns,” Kraft said. “You took care of business first rather than taking care of yourself. Each of these Soldiers has a story to tell, but quite frankly, they’re too modest to tell it.”

Kraft spoke of the uncommon valor the men exhibited in the heat of battle, though he said words alone could not do them justice.

“Though, mere words cannot adequately express and describe one’s willingness, one’s decision to charge a numerically superior enemy force,” he said, “or to maneuver into the jaws of a sophisticated enemy ambush to recover his Afghan brothers. To continue forward at all cost when hit by enemy fire, or to continue to engage the enemy and protect the lives of his teammates, even when engulfed in flames.”

However, if you were to ask one of these Soldiers if they had done anything special, the typical response would be, “I was just doing my job.”

“I didn’t really think about doing it, I just did it,” said Staff Sgt. Mario A. Pinilla, a Special Forces communication sergeant with 1st Battalion, 7th SFG (A), referring to his actions on Aug. 20, 2008. “If I had to do it again, I definitely would.”

While conducting a combat reconnaissance patrol in the Khaz Oruzgan district of Afghanistan, his team, ODA 7134, was ambushed by anti-Afghan forces. During the ensuing firefight, Pinilla sprinted 75 meters across open terrain into incoming enemy fire to an wounded teammate, Staff Sgt. Daniel Gould, a SF engineer sergeant, who was pinned down. When Pinilla reached his teammate, he dove in front of him, providing his own body as cover for his wounded comrade as he proceeded to suppress the enemy ambush line.

After 10 minutes of returning fire, Pinilla suffered two gunshot wounds and was criticallywounded. His teammates fought to return him to safety, all the while Pinilla continued to return fire with his 9-mm Beretta handgun. Due to the severity of his wounds, he was evacuated from the battlefield and eventually to Walter Reed Army Medical Center where he began a slow recovery process.

“It’s about trusting the man to your left and right, and knowing that he will do the right thing and watch your back,” he said. “That’s what I was doing for him [Gould] and he did the same for me. I wouldn’t be here today if not for him.”

Gould said it was the closeness his team shared that enabled them to risk their lives for each other.

“When you have the camaraderie that we have, the actions become instantaneous,” Gould said. “The cohesion that is built within the team is key.”

It is that camaraderie and familiarity within the team that allows its members to perform such acts of heroism. Whether it was Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan Clouse running into the kill zone of an ambush, while he himself waswounded, to provide medical aid to a wounded teammate; or Sgt. 1st Class David Nunez remaining in a vehicle engulfed in flames in order to discard explosives and ammunition, to prevent secondary explosions and ensure others were nothurt or killed.

“Where on earth do we get men like these?” Kraft said. “They’re here among us today. How fortunate, proud and humbled we are to be in the true company of heroes. We know full well the tremendous cost that comes with that kind of devotion, and we will never forget the sacrifice.”

Staff Sgt. Daniel Gould (bio)
Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan Clouse (bio)
Sgt. 1st Class Antonio Gonzalez (bio)
Sgt. 1st Class David Nunez (posthumously awarded) (bio)
Sgt. 1st Class Mario A. Pinilla (bio)
Master Sgt. Julio Bocanegra (bio)
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Mark Roland (bio)

Seven Soldiers from the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) were awarded the Silver Star during a ceremony at the JFK Auditorium Aug. 16, for their valorous actions while deployed to Afghanistan between 2007 and 2008. From right to left the recipients are: Sgt. 1st Class Mario Pinilla, Staff Sgt. Daniel Gould, Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan Clouse, Master Sgt. Julio Bocanegra, Sgt. 1st Class Antonio Gonzalez, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Mark Roland, and Spc. Rene Nunez, a member of the 82nd Airborne Division who accepted the posthumous award for his brother Sgt. 1st Class David Nunez. (Photo by Trisha Harris, USASOC Public Affairs Office)
“Where on earth do we get men like these?” Kraft said. “They’re here among us today. How fortunate, proud and humbled we are to be in the true company of heroes. We know full well the tremendous cost that comes with that kind of devotion, and we will never forget the sacrifice.”

You can't hit the nail on the head any closer then with that statement! Congrats Gentleman, and thank you for what you do! Good post as always Ravage...:)