Staff Sgt. Nein and then-Spc. Mike were part of a routine convoy escort on March 20, 2005, when a group of more than 30 insurgents ambushed the convoy. Enemy fighters had taken up positions in irrigation ditches along the road and in an orchard nearby. Insurgents disabled the lead vehicle, bringing the convoy to a halt in the middle of the kill zone.
As insurgents began streaming toward the stopped convoy, Nein and his team leader, Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester, jumped out of their vehicles and took cover near the enemy's trench. Mike's vehicle, which was toward the end of the convoy line, took up a position at the other end of the trench, trapping the enemy fighters. As Nein and Hester began clearing the trench of insurgents from one side, another wave of fighters attacked from the other side, wounding three of the four soldiers around Mike. Mike, a medic, moved the injured soldiers out of direct enemy fire, picked up two weapons, and began defending from the attacks on both sides. After Mike eliminated the threat, he began treating the wounded.
Meanwhile, as soldiers provided cover fire, Nein and Hester moved through two trenches filled with enemy fighters. They cleared both trenches, killing 27 insurgents, wounding six, and capturing one. The group also recovered several items of significance, including a video camera that the insurgents were using to film the ambush and another video tape in the pocket of a dead enemy fighter that showed a beheading.
For their actions, Nein and Mike received the Silver Star Medal in June 2005. On Feb. 17, 2007, Nein's Silver Star was upgraded to the Distinguished Service Cross.
Information provided by U.S. Army / Dept. of Defense