Gen. Petraeus Awards Silver Stars To Soldiers
(April 18, 2011)
|KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan (4/12/2011) – As the sun shone
brightly, U.S. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus awarded two
Silver Star Medals to Task Force No Slack soldiers at
Forward Operating Base Joyce in eastern Afghanistan's Kunar
province, April 11.|
U.S. Army Gen. David H.
Petraeus, International Security Assistance
Forces commander, awards a Silver Star Medal to
U.S. Army Capt. Edward B. Bankston at Forward
Operating Base Joyce in eastern Afghanistan's
Kunar province, April 11, 2011.
U.S. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, International
Security Assistance Forces commander, awards a
Silver Star Medal to U.S. Army Sgt. Joshua L.
Bostic at Forward Operating Base Joyce in
eastern Afghanistan's Kunar province, April 11,
The Silver Star recipients, U.S. Army Capt.
Edward B. Bankston, commander of Headquarters
and Headquarters Company from Decatur, Ga., and
U.S. Army Sgt. Joshua L. Bostic, a squad leader
from Spring City, Tenn., assigned to Company C,
both from 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry
Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st
Airborne Division, said the weather during
Operation Strong Eagle III in Marawara District
was anything but sunny.
As soon as the
battalion air assaulted into the Taliban
stronghold, March 28, they realized something
was wrong. More than 200 insurgent fighters were
positioned inside and outside of the villages of
Barawolo Kalay and Sarowbay with the possibility
of an additional 200 fighters reinforcing the
area in 24 hours.
That's when a snowstorm
moved in and air support became impossible.
Taliban fighters launched a barrage of
rocket-propelled grenades and machine-gun fire
using the weather as concealment.
Bankston had a tough situation on his hands with
one platoon in the high ground and two platoons
clearing villages, plus attachments, and every
single company was in contact in the entire
valley at the same time," said U.S. Army Capt.
Kevin W. Mott, a platoon leader from San Rafael,
With some of his soldiers killed
in action or wounded during the fighting,
Bankston regained control in the chaos,
repositioned troops and reported casualties and
troop strength consistently, said Mott.
"He was extremely calm and didn't get excited;
just regular Capt. Bankston," said Mott. "He set
the tone for everyone else to follow with his
demeanor. He's what a leader needs to be in that
situation. He managed the fight and managed
Bankston, who is on his third deployment and was previously
shot in the knee a few months earlier, said other soldiers
that day acted more heroically than him.|
"The way I
look at it is that I was walking in the footsteps of heroes
throughout the mission, so I was covered," explained
With a quiet demeanor and a genuine smile,
Bankston said it was easy to be a commander when his troops
acted so valiantly that day.
He also said it was good
to have Petraeus and higher headquarters recognize the hard
work Task Force No Slack demonstrated in Kunar Province. For
the past year, soldiers constantly attacked Taliban safe
havens and performing selfless acts of valor for each other
"The bonds that are forged through combat
are stronger bonds than any other you can think of," said
U.S. Army Capt. Tye L. Reedy, Company C commander from Dade
The next day, March 29, Reedy and his
company's bonds would be tested.
Bostic and his
platoon just got word they had to travel back up to the high
ground through menacing gunfire to refortify a position.
"We fight as a company and move as a company, so we all
went to the high ground," said Reedy. "That's when three
soldiers were pinned down behind a two-foot wall taking
Bostic and his men were the those soldiers.
During concentrated fire on his position, one of the
soldiers was shot and Bostic was wounded while trying to
pull him to cover.
He provided first aid while under
machine-gun fire, but the soldier didn't make it.
"Although he feels his actions were part of his job and his
duty, they were undoubtedly valorous. In his mind, there was
no hesitation," said Reedy.
Bostic led the rest of
his team back to the company. Waiting for a lull in the
fire, he then led another element under direct enemy fire to
recover the body of his fallen comrade.
refused to be medically evacuated for his injuries in order
to stay with his troops.
"Bostic was walking wounded
at risk of infection," explained Reedy. "But he didn't want
to leave his guys. The mission and his soldiers were more
important to him. That's what type of non-commissioned
officer he is."
After being awarded the Silver Star,
Bostic said it was a humbling experience because he doesn't
believe he did anything more extraordinary than his fellow
"I know the other guys would do the same
for me; it really wasn't a thought," said Bostic about that
During the mission, six U.S. soldiers
would be killed in action as well as scores of others
More Silver Star Medals are pending
approval for that operation, but Bankston said what was on
everybody's mind, "I would trade all the medals to get our
lost guys back."
Article and photos by Army SFC Mark Burrell|
Combined Joint Task Force 101
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