Utah NG Soldiers receive Silver and Bronze Stars for Valor

Gypsy

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http://www.ngb.army.mil/news/archives/2008/06/063008-UTNG_awards.aspx

Utah Guard Soldiers Awarded Silver, Bronze Stars for Valor
By Maj. Hank McIntire
Utah National Guard



Draper, Utah - Two Utah National Guard soldiers, 1st Lt. Tyler J. Jensen and Capt. Chad A. Pledger, were awarded the Silver Star and Bronze Star, respectively, at a ceremony here on June 19.

Jensen, a member of the 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) in Provo, received the Silver Star for his actions on Jan. 27, 2007, while deployed with I Corps Artillery (Forward) as an embedded transition team mentor to members of the Afghan National Army.

“In many ways it’s a wonderful honor, but in others it’s really hard,” Jensen said at the ceremony. “So many of my fallen friends and Soldiers are not here.”

One of those friends and Soldiers absent was 2nd Lt. Scott B. Lundell, who died in a firefight with enemy forces in Afghanistan in November 2006.

Jensen, Lundell and Pledger, who was awarded the Bronze Star, all deployed together to Afghanistan in 2006-2007 with the Utah Guard’s I Corps Artillery to be trainers and mentors to members of the Afghan National Army.

On Jan. 27, 2007, Jensen was on a combat reconnaissance patrol when his unit was ambushed by an estimated 100 enemy forces in Uruzgan province, Afghanistan. In the confusion, the Afghanis in the patrol were cut off from nearly all their American counterparts and the frightened Afghani officer in charge fled. Instinctively filling the void, Jensen stepped in, took charge and led the patrol under enemy fire to rejoin the Americans. Then when another U.S. Soldier took a small-arms round in the leg, Jensen risked his own personal safety to rescue him.

“First Lieutenant Jensen repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire to save a fellow Soldier who was wounded,” reads the award citation. “His courage, superlative combat skills and tactical leadership under overwhelming direct enemy fire were instrumental in preventing the enemy from overrunning his patrol.”

The Silver Star is awarded for “gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force, or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in armed conflict against an opposing armed force,” according to Army Regulation 600-8-22.

The decoration is the third-highest medal for valor, after the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Service Cross.

It is the first Silver Star awarded to a member of the Utah National Guard in recent memory, to include Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and Desert Storm.

Pledger received the Bronze Star with “V” device for “exceptional gallantry and valor in the face of a determined enemy” for his actions on Nov. 26, 2006.

As described on the certificate signed by Secretary of the Army Pete Geren: “Pledger’s temerity and skill resulted in an effective counterattack against an entrenched enemy ambush that not only saved the lives of numerous . . . Soldiers, but also enabled the recovery of a U.S. casualty.”

Ironically, that casualty was Lundell. His widow, Jeanine was on hand to see Utah Gov. Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., pin the awards on her husband’s friends.

Each speaker at the ceremony spoke tenderly of Lundell and his wife, Jeanine, as well as the sacrifice of family members when their Soldiers answer their nation’s call.

“It’s [for] all the Lundells out there who have served respectably and honorably,” said Pledger, modestly acknowledging his decoration for valor. “[It’s for] all the ones who keep our nation secure.” Huntsman, who happened to be in Afghanistan visiting Utah Soldiers when Lundell was killed, spoke of the memorial service he attended near Kabul to pay tribute to the fallen Soldier as “my most memorable event as governor.”

“It is totally inadequate for [me] to stand up here after what we have just seen,” Huntsman continued. “It’s pretty cool to be a governor, but it’s exceedingly cool to be able to pin on a Silver Star and a Bronze Star with Valor, knowing what that represents.” In his remarks, Utah National Guard adjutant general Maj. Gen. Brian L. Tarbet praised Jensen and Pledger for their courage. “You are quiet, unassuming young men,” he said. “Oh, how remarkable you are! And how you grace the uniform makes us all proud.

“With such great heroes in my life,” he added, “I would be completely ungrateful if I didn’t serve.”
 

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“It is totally inadequate for [me] to stand up here after what we have just seen,” Huntsman continued. “It’s pretty cool to be a governor, but it’s exceedingly cool to be able to pin on a Silver Star and a Bronze Star with Valor, knowing what that represents.”


Well said!
 

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“It’s [for] all the Lundells out there who have served respectably and honorably,” said Pledger, modestly acknowledging his decoration for valor. “[It’s for] all the ones who keep our nation secure.” Huntsman, who happened to be in Afghanistan visiting Utah Soldiers when Lundell was killed, spoke of the memorial service he attended near Kabul to pay tribute to the fallen Soldier as “my most memorable event as governor.”

Congrats to a job well done by the QP's and the company they were attached to!

RIP to all of the fallen.....:(
 
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