|“This is the type of stuff he does every day.” In the civilian world, those words might describe a hardworking, devoted colleague. In a combat zone, however, they take on a whole new meaning: “It's not the first time [Capt. Goltry has] been shot, and it's not the first time he charged the enemy,” explained Capt. Buddy Ferris, a fellow officer in the legendary 82nd Airborne Division.|
Those words were used to describe then-Lt. Goltry's heroism in battle on February 2, 2007. That evening, Goltry was in command of the second truck in his platoon's five-vehicle convoy as it moved through Sammara, just north of Baghdad. Though the sun had set, a moonlit night provided little cover for the convoy – perfect conditions for an ambush.
Suddenly, in what Goltry described as a complex “L-shaped” attack, enemy combatants unleashed a barrage of machine-gun fire at the convoy, disabling the lead humvee and wounding its gunner. Goltry saw his fellow paratrooper's vulnerable position, and realized that the only way to protect the wounded soldier would be to imperil his own safety. He ordered his driver to move his vehicle in front of the damaged truck to create a buffer and draw away fire. Lt. Goltry opened his door to return fire, even as his vehicle bore the brunt of the enemy's bullets.
Goltry was shot twice in his left leg. But this didn't stop or apparently even slow him down. He jumped from his vehicle, rallied his men, and killed a hostile combatant as he led the offensive against the ambush. Rather than retreat, the squads pursued the enemies for several hundred meters and took over strategic positions as they cleared nearby houses. These efforts yielded the capture of an enemy combatant. Lt. Goltry refused to be evacuated in a medical vehicle and instead stayed with his platoon. Goltry later called the whole incident “just another day.”
For those who know him, Goltry's valor in action is no surprise. And neither is his humility: When discussing his actions, he always deflects attention from himself. “I'm real proud of my men,” he said. “They fight real hard for me, and they've saved my (rear) more than once.”
Aristotle once declared that excellence is not an act, but a habit. For making a habit of bravery, determination, and courage, Capt. Goltry was awarded the Silver Star, the Combat Infantryman Badge, and two Purple Hearts on July 31, 2007. He is scheduled to receive a third Purple Heart for wounds sustained during an attack on Sammara's police station this past May. Capt. Goltry continues to serve in Iraq.