An American Soldier from the U.S. Army's only airborne Explosive
Ordnance Disposal Company was presented with the nation's second
highest award for valor at Fort Benning, GA on Feb. 17, 2015.
Staff Sgt. Jeffery M. Dawson earned the Distinguished Service
Cross while deployed to Afghanistan with the 28th EOD Company
(Airborne) in support of the U.S. Army's elite 75th Ranger Regiment.
Col. Patrick Ellis (center), commander of the 3rd Battalion, 75th
Ranger Regiment, and U.S. Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Daniel B.
Allyn (center) applaud Staff Sgt. Jeffery M. Dawson at his
Distinguished Service Cross ceremony on FortBenning, Ga., Feb. 17,
2015. (U.S. Army photo by Patrick A. Albright,, Ga., Feb. 17,
2015. (U.S. Army photo by Patrick A. Albright, MCoE PAO
Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Daniel B. Allyn presented the
medal to Dawson during a ceremony here at Marshall
Auditorium. Sgt. Bryan C. Anderson (photo right), the Ranger Platoon medic
on the same mission, also received the Distinguished Service
Cross at the ceremony.
Dawson said the mission in Afghanistan on Oct. 5, 2013, was
supposed to be routine.
"That mission started out the same
as every mission. The IED (Improvised Explosive Device) threat was
low and it was supposed to be a quick easy target," said Dawson.
"Upon infiltration everything changed in minutes."
mission at a remote enemy compound, a fleeing insurgent donated an
explosive, killing himself and the team's multi-purpose canine Jani.
Dawson then realized that his team was surrounded by IEDs.
"Being the only EOD tech on the objective, it was up to me to
clear medical personnel to the wounded and clear to all other
personnel to get them to safety," said Dawson.
wounded by two separate explosions, Dawson halted the mission,
disarmed the improvised explosive devices and aided in the
evacuation of dead and wounded Soldiers.
chaotic situation in limited visibility for more than two hours,
Dawson exposed himself to grave danger while locating three
confirmed pressure plate IEDs and an additional six suspected
devices, the award citation said.
"In any situation like
that, you always revert back to training and stick with what you
know," said Dawson, a Coalville, Utah native who has served in Iraq
Dawson said he was inspired by the
dedication of his fellow Soldiers who braved the explosive-ridden
battlefield to recover their fallen and wounded teammates.
"I remember looking around at all the devastation and seeing
American flags draped over casualties in an effort to help keep them
warm," said Dawson.
The staff sergeant said he was surprised
to be put in for the medal, second only to the Medal of Honor.
"When I got back to camp, people were coming up to me and
shaking my hand and hugging me telling me that they heard great
things about me," said Dawson. "I kept thinking to myself that I was
just doing my job
The Fort Bragg, North Carolina-based 28th
EOD Company (Airborne) is part of the 192nd EOD Battalion, 52nd EOD
Group, 20th CBRNE Command (Chemical, Biological, Radiological,
Nuclear, Explosives), the only Defense Department formation that
combats global CBRNE threats.
According to 28th EOD Company
Commander Capt. Taylor J. Duren, his Soldiers conduct rigorous
training to stay ready to jump out of airplanes and defuse explosive
devices. Duren said his Soldiers regularly serve with the 75th
Ranger Regiment, the U.S. Army's premier direct-action raid force.
"(The medal) highlights the relationship we have with the
75th Ranger Regiment since they are the ones who submitted (Staff
Sergeant) Dawson's Distinguished Service Cross," said Duren.
Duren said the medal demonstrates the high caliber of the Soldiers
serving in his one-of-a-kind company.
"What makes us truly
unique is the level of professionalism each Soldier depicts in this
company," said Duren, a native of Columbia, South Carolina, who has
deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.
"This award pays tribute to
the level of training we put into the Soldiers hand selected to
serve in this company and their dedication to mission success," said
By Walter Ham, U.S. Army 20th CBRNE Command
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