FORT BENNING, Ga. (USASOC News Service, Feb. 19, 2015) - Two members of a joint special operations task force were awarded the nation’s second highest honor for their heroic actions at an awards ceremony, Feb. 17 at Fort Benning, Ga.
Sgt. Bryan Anderson, a Ranger combat medic with 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment and Staff Sgt. Jeffery Dawson, 28th Ordnance Company (Airborne) were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for their actions during an assault against an armed enemy in Kandahar province, Afghanistan Oct. 5-6, 2013.
“On Oct. 5th and 6th, Staff Sgt. Jeffery Dawson and Sgt. Bryan Anderson set the example that inspires our current Ranger force and will embolden generations to come.” said Gen. Daniel B. Allyn, Vice Chief of Staff U.S. Army, during the awards ceremony.
During the mission, the assault force targeted a Taliban attack network leader operating in Kandahar province. Information indicated the high value target was the leader of an attack cell planning on conducting a high profile attack in Kandahar City with aims of killing civilians.
On the objective, the enemy triggered multiple suicide explosive devices and improvised explosive devices, killing four members of the assault force and wounding several others.
“October 5th and 6th carry several indelible realties beyond our unspeakable loss. It signals to the enemies of our country, that this nation, this Army, this regiment, knows where the enemy lurks and has men and women of courage…with the intestinal fortitude to reach out and hold them to account,” said Allyn. “Second, while many scars remain from that October evening, our wounded warriors are indomitable---their example serves to inspire and lead us forward demonstrating to this nation what courage, determination and resolve truly look like.”
He added that Cpt. Jennifer Moreno, Sgt. Patrick Hawkins, Sgt. Joseph Peters and Spc. Cody Patterson paid the ultimate price for our nation’s freedom that night.
“To the families of those lost on that fateful day…we stand in reverent gratitude and commitment for your sacrifice, said Allyn. “You are forever a part of the Ranger and the Army Family and history…and we collectively recommit our service to the memory and honor of our fallen heroes.”
As a Ranger combat medic and fully knowing the extreme and imminent danger to himself, Anderson, a native of Gilbert, Ariz., repeatedly moved throughout an improvised explosive device belt with no regard for his own life to render aid to several fallen comrades, directly saving the lives of two members of the assault force.
"I wasn't concerned with my life," said Anderson. "I was concerned that I had buddies who were bleeding out on the compound."
Dawson, from Reno, Nev., continually placed himself in imminent danger as he repeatedly moved throughout an improvised explosive device belt despite being wounded by two separate detonations to retrieve wounded and fallen teammates.
"When I got back that night people were coming up to me and giving me hugs, and telling me thank you, they heard things about me,” said Dawson. “And I didn't really understand, I was just there I'm doing my job you know. So it’s still pretty weird to be considered a hero in other people's eyes."
Concluding his remarks at the ceremony, Allyn said, “On October 5th and 6th in western Kandahar province, you upheld the prestige, honor and esprit de corps of your Ranger Regiment…you moved further, faster, and fought harder than any other Soldier…you did not fail your comrades…and you never left a fallen comrade…and I am prouder than ever to be a Ranger in your midst today. God bless you and all of our heroes serving near and far. Rangers Lead the Way!”
In all, two Distinguished Service Crosses, one Silver Star, 11 Bronze Star Medals for Valor and 18 Army Commendation Medals for Valor and 40 Purple Hearts were awarded to other Soldiers for this mission.