|The event had all the makings of a celebration: A large crowd of dignitaries, medical personnel, and civilians gathered for the opening of an emergency room at Khost City Hospital in Afghanistan. It was a scene that would not have taken place during the reign of the Taliban – and a scene the enemies of a free Afghanistan try to prevent at all costs.|
On February 20, 2007, Staff Sgt. Jason Fetty, at great personal risk, thwarted a suicide attack at the hospital, and saved countless people. For his actions, he was given the Silver Star, the first Silver Star earned by an Army Reserve soldier in Afghanistan.
Fetty was serving on assignment with the 364th Civil Affairs Group, Joint Provincial Reconstruction Team in Khost. After the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the hospital, commotion suddenly ensued: Patients, nurses, and doctors sprinted out of the hospital. Fetty recognized many of the faces at the event, having been in Khost for more than ten months.
He did not, however, recognize one man in a lab coat, who was moving slowly as the crowd fled. Fetty identified him as a potential “bad guy” and shouted at him to stop. The man, who Fetty said looked “crazy in the eyes,” quickly approached Fetty and tried to grab his rifle. Fetty lured him away from the crowd – even as he realized there was a very real possibility that he had a suicide vest.
None of the options were good: If Fetty fired his weapon, civilians could be caught in the crossfire, or, even worse, the suicide vest could detonate. If he didn't fire, the attacker might be able to wrestle away his weapon. Fetty continued to struggle with the attacker and was finally able to maneuver so he could safely fire his M-16.
His first shot struck the man in the leg. Another shot hit him in the stomach. Despite the injuries, the attacker was still determined to detonate the bomb strapped to his chest. Realizing what was about to happen, Fetty took three running steps and leapt away just as the man detonated his vest. The blast left Fetty with shrapnel wounds on his face, leg, and ankle.
By leading the attacker from the crowd, Fetty allowed for the evacuation of all medical personnel and dignitaries, which included the governor of the province, the primary target of the bombing. For his gallantry, Fetty received the Silver Star as well as a Purple Heart. The Parkersburg, W.V., native is currently assigned to a combat support hospital in Pennsylvania.