Four members of the 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), received awards during a ceremony held in Panzer Hall Jan. 19 for their valorous actions over the course of their last deployment to Afghanistan in support of International Security Assistance Forces Special Operations Forces and Task Force 10.
“We have the opportunity to recognize some of the valor and sacrifices these men have rendered in defense of their nation and as members of the Special Forces Regiment,” said Maj. Gen. Michael S. Repass, commander of Special Operations Command Europe, during the ceremony. “All the better that their families, friends, team mates and associates are present to hear what they’ve done, since they most likely have never said much about it themselves.”
During the ceremony, one Bronze Star Medal for valor, two Army Commendation Medals for valor and one Purple Heart were awarded. Although all valor medals were presented for separate actions, the Special Forces Soldiers to whom they were awarded came from the same detachment.
Staff Sgt. Robert Murray, who was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for valor, humbly stated that the awards were a tribute to the team and its solid leadership.
“I did what anyone would do in that situation,” he said during an interview. “I was just at the front when the shooting started.”
But as the narrator read Murray’s citation, it became clear that he was responsible for much more — leading a combined Afghan and Romanian contingent to a blocking position that eliminated enemy forces attempting to flank his team members during a battle, thus saving many lives.
For the Bronze Star for valor recipient, Master Sgt. Joe Dickinson, the detachment’s senior noncommissioned officer and operations sergeant, the ceremony offered an opportunity for his “all-star” team to be recognized.
“Though the awards are given to individuals, we view the recognition as larger than ourselves,” he said. “These are about the … team successfully accomplishing a difficult mission in one of the most volatile areas of Afghanistan. They represent team cohesiveness and what can be achieved when everything clicks.”
Dickinson, who will receive a Silver Star for a separate action during a ceremony scheduled later in the year, was credited with directly exposing himself to enemy fire on multiple occasions as he led his international force on an attack against insurgents in the Kapisa Province.
At one point during the battle, Dickinson, surrounded by enemy forces, organized a patrol and successfully led his element to safety in coordination with other friendly supporting forces.
During closing remarks, Repass gave credit to the men honored during the ceremony as he quoted General George Patton.
“Brave, but undisciplined men have no chance against the discipline and valor of other men,” he said. “These men we recognize today no longer wonder how they will perform in the face of the enemy. You can now leave that pondering for the new and untested. You have answered the eternal Soldier’s question.”
Currently, members of 1st Battalion, 10th SFG (A) are deployed to Afghanistan in support of ISAF SOF and TF-10, where they are being tested daily.