CAMP MARMAL, Afghanistan (12/02/2011) - A soldier assigned to the
1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, was awarded the
Army's most prestigious peacetime award for valor, the Soldier's
Medal, during a ceremony at Camp Marmal Dec. 1.
Capt. Dennis Edwards (right), an operations officer assigned to Task Force Lobos, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, originally from Baton Rouge, La., and recipient of the Soldier's Medal, the Army's highest peacetime award for valor, poses with Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, commander, ISAF Joint Command, following the award presentation ceremony Dec. 1, 2011 here. Edwards received the award for his efforts to extract two drivers whose vehicles had caught fire during a traffic accident in Killeen, Texas on the morning of Jan. 27,
2011, according to the citation. Edwards ran to the scene, pulled the first driver out of the passenger side door, then went to the second vehicle, which was catching fire as well and extracted the second driver with the help of a few individuals who happened to be within the vicinity. Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Joe Armas
Capt. Dennis Edwards received the award for his efforts to extract
two drivers whose vehicles had caught fire during a traffic accident
in Killeen, Texas, on the morning of Jan. 27, according to the
Edwards, from Baton Rouge, La., the assistant
operations officer for Task Force Lobos, 1st ACB, was on his way to
work when he was at a stoplight and two vehicles collided on the
other side of the intersection.
Edwards, at times emotional, recounted his
initial shock when the crash occurred.
“Initially, it took me
back for a second,” he said. "I couldn't believe that both vehicles
had burst into flames."
“As I approached the first vehicle,
all I could think to myself was that I had to react quickly to get
both of the drivers out of those vehicles,” added Edwards.
When Edwards approached the first vehicle, his initial intention was
to extract the driver from the driver's side door, but quickly
learned that would not be the most viable option.
“There was too much fire on that side of the car, so I
had to resort to the passenger side,” Edwards continued.
After extracting the passenger in the first vehicle,
Edwards dashed to the second vehicle, and with the
assistance of a few individuals who were in the vicinity, he
successfully extracted the driver of the sedan which was
also in flames. After Edwards had repositioned both drivers
away from the crash scene, one of the individuals who had
assisted him called 911 and fire trucks soon rolled into the
area to extinguish the fires.
The commander for Task
Force Lobos, Lt. Col William Huff, saw Edwards later on that
day, and was in awe of the subdued demeanor of someone who
had just been through what many would consider a
“He maintained his calm and
cool collective attitude the whole time; he was absolutely
unflappable,” added Huff.
Huff said Edwards had
called in late that morning and hadn't mentioned anything
about the accident.
“Come to find out, he was late
because he was saving someone's life,” said Huff.
was thinking about his impact on the mission; he's the
epitome of selfless service,” added Huff.
it took an act of selfless service for Edwards to be awarded
the Soldier's Medal. According to Army Regulation 600-8-22
(Military Awards and Decorations), “The performance must
have involved personal hazard or danger and the voluntary
risk of life under conditions not involving conflict with an
Huff said that he feels strongly that
Edwards deserved to receive such an honor.
thinking twice about his own personal safety, he ran across
that intersection without hesitation to pull both drivers
out of those vehicles,” added Huff. “It just speaks volumes
about his professionalism.”
“He saw a dangerous
situation and responded the way we all would have wanted
to,” added Huff.
Edwards said that as he looked back
almost a year after the accident, the experience was one he
would never forget.
“I learned a lot from that day,
especially to not take the little things in life for
granted,” added Edwards.
As for the ceremony, Edwards
was presented the award by Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti,
commander, ISAF Joint Command.
Fellow soldiers stood
at the position of attention as the citation was recited,
briefly summarizing the events of a late January morning
that had started just like any other for Edwards. After the
award presentation, Edwards talked about what the award
meant to him as he acknowledged the immensity of the moment.
“It's an absolute honor to receive this award,” said
Edwards, who joined former secretary of state and retired
four-star general Colin Powell as a fellow recipient of the
Edwards, seemingly humbled in
receiving the award, said any soldier would have reacted the
same way and that he was glad that he was able to intervene
the way he did.
Huff said the award ceremony was a
great moment for Task Force Lobos.
"To witness a
humbled and deserving professional like Edwards receive this
award, it's really something special, and I was honored to
be a part of it,” added Huff.
By Army Staff Sgt. Joe Armas
1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs
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