On an August evening in 2007, Staff Sergeant Sean Kane was conducting a meeting with a local Iraqi leader with other members of the 3rd Heavy Combat Brigade Team. These sorts of face to face interactions are absolutely vital to winning the support of the populace and defeating the insurgency. During the courtyard meeting, the outer layer of local security forces allowed a seemingly harmless passer-by to proceed towards the gathered Americans and Iraqis. Like a wolf in sheep's clothing, the unidentified man came closer and closer to the crowd and began to chant prayers when Kane realized what was approaching.
Iraqi security saw the suicide vest on him, panicked, and ran away. As the Iraqi security guards ran from the would-be suicide bomber, Kane charged towards him. Kane put himself between the unarmed civilians, which included a family of 13, and the sadistic terrorist, Kane raised his weapon and at that moment the bomber detonated. Saving Kane and his fellow soldiers one of the Iraqi leader's sons tackled the bomber and took the majority of the blast.
Only ten feet from the blast, Kane was hit by the severed torso of the would-be killer and knocked to the ground. In the gore, smoke, and chaos ensuing after the explosion, Kane, dazed but focused, dragged himself to the entrance of the courtyard to guard against further attacks.
By intercepting the bomber while all others fled, Kane's split second
decision saved the lives of three other soldiers, an interpreter, and many civilians. For his courage in staring down a terrorist and saving the lives of all those at the meeting, Staff Sergeant Sean Kane was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor.
Photo and information courtesy of US Army / Dept. of Defense