Private First Class Jeremy Church, U.S. Army, was driving the lead vehicle in a convoy along one of the most dangerous routes in Iraq to pick up fuel at Baghdad International Airport when 150 – 200 members of the al Sadr militia ambushed the convoy with RPGs, IEDs and small-arms fire.
Church drove aggressively through the kill-zone to dodge explosions, obstacles, and small arms fire. When the convoy commander was shot, Church grabbed his first aid pouch, ripped it open, and told the platoon leader to apply a bandage.
When an IED blew out a tire, Church continued driving for four miles on only three tires, all the while firing his M-16 out the window with his left hand. He finally led the convoy into a security perimeter established by a cavalry company. After carrying his platoon leader to a casualty collection point for treatment, Church rallied the troops to launch an immediate recovery mission and escorted them back into the kill-zone.
Church identified the assistant commander's vehicle amidst heavy black smoke and the wreckage of burning fuel tankers to find two more wounded soldiers and four civilian truck drivers. He treated a soldier with a sucking chest wound and carried him to a recovery vehicle while exposing himself to continuous enemy fire from both sides of the road.
When all the wounded were loaded in the truck, there was no room for Church, who volunteered to remain behind. He climbed into a disabled Humvee for cover and continued firing at and killing insurgents until the recovery team returned. He loaded up several more wounded before sweeping the area for sensitive items and evacuating.
Church was credited with saving the lives of at least five soldiers and four civilians. The commitment, selfless service, and personal courage Church demonstrated during the April 9, 2004, attack earned him the distinction of being the Army Reserve's first Silver Star recipient in the Iraq War and the first Army Reserve soldier to earn that medal since the Vietnam War.