U.S. Army Major Brent Clemmer, a soldier who served with the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team) during its 15 months in Iraq, received the Silver Star, the third-highest military award for combat valor.
“I'm very humbled,” Clemmer said. “Most soldiers don't think what we do is in any way special. We're doing our jobs.”
Clemmer added that the award is a reflection of the performance of the nearly 170 soldiers in his company.
Clemmer received the award for his actions on Jan. 28, 2007 when he commanded Charger Company of 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment.
Clemmer was notified that a helicopter had been shot down near Najaf, south of Baghdad, and coalition forces responding were receiving significant gun and mortar fire, according to the award's citation.
After moving his company about 60 miles, he linked up with a Special Forces team that had suffered casualties and established a perimeter between the wreckage and insurgents.
He then directed the recovery of the wreckage and the bodies of the two pilots who died in the crash.
“I'm really proud we didn't let anything happen to those guys,” Clemmer said.
According to the award's citation:
“During the night, Clemmer directed his unit to repel several enemy counterattacks as the fighters were based in a nearby fortified town surrounded by a deep trench. Air Force gunships and Army attack helicopters assaulted the town.
At daybreak, Clemmer again moved his company to support a sister company's ground assault of the town. Wounded women and children emerging from the town signaled the insurgents' surrender.”
The imminent assault transformed into a humanitarian mission, Clemmer said.
He accepted the surrender of several hundred people, insurgents and civilians. He established a landing zone for medical evaluation and the delivery of medical supplies, water and other supplies.
The actions of Clemmer and his soldiers resulted in about 250 insurgents being killed, 81 being wounded and more than 400 being captured. They recovered stockpiles of enemy ammunition, medical supplies, food and hundreds of weapons.
Clemmer was promoted to major in February 2007 and transferred to a job in brigade headquarters. He has deployed to Afghanistan and twice served in Iraq.