THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
AUTHORIZED BY CONGRESS
THE DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CROSS
SERGEANT BRYAN C. ANDERSON, UNITED STATES ARMY
EXTRAORDINARY HEROISM IN ACTION
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Sergeant Bryan C. Anderson, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy as a member of Company B, 3d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, from 5 October 2013 to 6 October 2013 during combat operations against an armed enemy of the United States, as a Ranger Platoon Medic for a Joint Task Force in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. Specialist Anderson assaulted a remote compound occupied by enemy insurgents. During the assault, the enemy triggered multiple suicide explosive devices and improvised explosive devices, wounding several rangers. Fully knowing the extreme and imminent danger to himself, Specialist Anderson repeatedly moved throughout an improvised explosive device belt with no regard for his own life to render aid to several fallen comrades, directly saving the lives of two members of the assault force. Specialist Anderson’s distinctive accomplishments are in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, this Command, and the United States Army.
NARRATIVE TO ACCOMPANY AWARD: Specialist Bryan C. Anderson, United States Army distinguished himself by exceptionally heroic service from 5 October 2013 to 6 October 2013 while deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM while serving as a Ranger Platoon Medic. During the period of darkness 05 October 2013 to 06 October 2013, Specialist Anderson was the platoon medic in an assault force. The HVT was a known Taliban attack network leader operating in Kandahar Province. Intelligence indicated that the HVT was the leader of an attack cell planning on conducting a high profile attack in Kandahar City with the aims of killing innocent civilians and undermining GIRoA authority. Specialist Anderson was a member of a combined strike force that planned an operation to kill or capture the HVT. The assault force planned to land on two separate named areas of interest (NAI), NAI 1 and NAI 2. The assault force departed from Kandahar Airfield. Upon infiltration of NAI 1, the assault force moved to establish isolation of the targeted compound where the HVT was believed to be located. Upon landing, a squirter departed from the targeted compound and fled on foot to the northwest. Specialist Anderson had been tasked as the medic moving to support the squirter interdiction element. He linked up with the platoon sergeant, Staff Sergeant Torres, and moved on the west side of a wadi towards the squirter, behind Staff Sergeant Arnold and SrA Windle. There was a detonation of at least three devices to include a suicide explosive device and two pressure plate improvised explosive devices (IEDs) at the eastern gate of the target (Detonations #1-3). These explosions resulted in at least eight friendly casualties around the eastern gate of the compound and two enemy killed in action, to include the female who was wearing and detonated a suicide vest. Without hesitation or concern for self-preservation, Specialist Anderson began moving alone 300 meters to the south towards the area in which casualties had been reported. He quickly radioed Staff Sergeant Torres to advise him that he was moving to the building by himself to assist with triage. Roughly, ten seconds later, an explosion occurred in vicinity of the squirter resulting in one additional enemy killed in action and one multi-purpose canine, Jani, killed in action (Detonation #4). Specialist Anderson did not stop running until he reached the target area, which at this point in time was an active pressure plate IED belt. With no personal calculation of the existing threat to himself, Specialist Anderson moved to the first casualty he saw on the ground to the east of the breach, which was Sergeant Block. Staff Sergeant Remley, the Battalion senior medic, was already treating Sergeant Block’s eye injury and shrapnel wounds. Specialist Anderson began blood sweeps on Sergeant Block, but Staff Sergeant Remley instructed Specialist Anderson to move on to the next patient. With no prior explosive clearance, Specialist Anderson ran past unexploded IEDs and found Private First Class Pinnick lying on the ground, slightly to the east of Sergeant Block, and began his assessment. He cut open Private First Class Pinnick’s shirt and found a puncture wound in his left chest, to which he applied a HALO chest seal. Specialist Anderson then cut open Private First Class Pinnick’s pants and found blood oozing from above his genitals and his scrotum, which he treated with combat gauze and a pressure dressing. All bleeding was controlled at this point and Private First Class Pinnick’s pulse was still strong. With Private First Class Pinnick’s condition stabilized, Specialist Anderson remained in place and continued to provide verbal encouragement to his patient while scanning the area to find additional wounded assault force members who needed treatment. At this point, Staff Sergeant Horton, Staff Sergeant Remley, Staff Sergeant Skinner, and Specialist Howard were the only personnel in vicinity of the building who were still ambulatory and not seriously wounded, although all were seriously concussed. Staff Sergeant Horton radioed for Sergeant Hawkins to return to the target compound to assist in packaging and treating casualties, and notified the Platoon Sergeant, Staff Sergeant Torres, that the squirter interdiction element needed to return to the building to help with casualty evacuation. A casualty evacuation helicopter flight was requested by the Ground Force Commander (GFC), CPT Pike, to evacuate the casualties from IED Detonations #1-3. The first casualty evacuation helicopter landed. The personnel being evacuated included seven wounded to include the Battalion Senior Medic, Staff Sergeant Remley who was experiencing effects from the concussive blasts he had endured. With the extraction of seven casualties and the deterioration of medical support on the objective, there were not enough personnel remaining at the building compound to safely move the remaining wounded to the casualty evacuation helicopter. 1LT Moreno, the assault force’s Cultural Support Team (CST) leader, who had also been assisting in treating casualties from Detonations #1-3, moved towards Staff Sergeant Horton, to assist in the movement of Private First Class Pinnick to the casualty evacuation helicopter, which was now on the ground. While moving to Staff Sergeant Horton and Private First Class Pinnick, 1LT Moreno detonated Device #5 and was killed in action. At this point Specialist Patterson and Sergeant Hawkins were arriving at the compound. Sergeant Hawkins and Specialist Patterson then moved south towards Private First Class Pinnick who was still being treated by Specialist Anderson. Specialist Patterson stepped on a pressure plate IED, stumbled, and triggered another pressure plate IED seconds later. Specialist Patterson and Sergeant Hawkins were mortally wounded by these detonations (Detonation #6 and #7) which were less than five meters from Specialist Anderson. Specialist Anderson was blown over and was temporarily rendered senseless from the explosions. After checking himself for serious wounds, Specialist Anderson rapidly regained his composure and reassessed Private First Class Pinnick to ensure he had not been wounded by the additional blasts. At this time, with no concern for his own safety, Specialist Anderson again transited the IED belt despite limited visibility due to explosive dust and debris. Specialist Anderson reached Sergeant Hawkins in the area he had fallen and began to assess his new casualty. Specialist Anderson assessed that Sergeant Hawkins had sustained catastrophic blast injuries from the IED. He suffered severe facial trauma, his left arm was amputated at the elbow, his abdomen was eviscerated, and his left leg was amputated. Despite the horrific condition of his fallen teammate, Specialist Anderson put pressure on Sergeant Hawkins’ femoral artery while Specialist Howard arrived and attempted to put a tourniquet on Sergeant Hawkins’ left arm. Specialist Anderson diligently continued to sustain Sergeant Hawkins’ life by administering a successful cricothyrotomy, but Sergeant Hawkins was able to take only two more breaths before he expired. Realizing that he could no longer treat Sergeant Hawkins, Specialist Anderson unhesitatingly began to search for additional wounded he could treat. Sergeant Peters was returning to the compound from assisting with the medical evacuation at HLZ Egret when he triggered two pressure plate IEDs and was severely wounded (Detonations #8 and #9). Without hesitation, Specialist Anderson got up and ran through the uncleared area to Sergeant Peters, just as Staff Sergeant Skinner was also arriving at Sergeant Peters’ side. Sergeant Peters had bilateral amputation of his lower extremities. Specialist Anderson put pressure on his legs and worked with Staff Sergeant Skinner to apply tourniquets. Sergeant Dawson and SrA Windle soon arrived and cleared a path through the IED belt to Sergeant Peters. Sergeant Peters soon lost consciousness and stopped breathing. Specialist Anderson and SrA Windle were performing a cricothyrotomy on Sergeant Peters when Corporal Hargis stepped on a pressure plate IED (Detonation #10) while moving to aid Sergeant Peters. The IED amputated both of Corporal Hargis’ legs. This blast occurred five meters to the northwest of Specialist Anderson. After the dust began settling from this explosion, SrA Windle finished the cricothyrotomy on Sergeant Peters. Sergeant Dawson then cleared a path to Corporal Hargis with Specialist Anderson. Specialist Anderson had no tourniquets remaining at this point and dug his knees deep into what remained of Corporal Hargis’ legs to stop the bleeding. Staff Sergeant Torres gave Specialist Anderson his tourniquet to place on Corporal Hargis’ left leg. Specialist Anderson administered a fentanyl lozenge to Corporal Hargis. Sergeant Peters had expired at this point. SrA Windle moved to assist Specialist Anderson with Corporal Hargis and administered a needle decompression on Corporal Hargis’ collapsed lung. Corporal Hargis had no radial pulse. Specialist Anderson placed a saline lock in Corporal Hargis’ right arm; he then pumped 500-ml. of hextend to boost Corporal Hargis’ blood pressure. Specialist Anderson continued to render treatment and encouragement, which kept Corporal Hargis alive for almost an hour and forty minutes until he could be evacuated. During this time, realizing he could no longer safely transit the area, Specialist Anderson continued to provide verbal direction to remaining first responders and medical technicians throughout the objective area. Elements from Strike Force 2 QRF fast-roped into HLZ Egret and cleared a path through the active IED belt to the casualties in vicinity of the compound. Specialist Anderson moved to the casualty evacuation HLZ with Corporal Hargis and was extracted from the objective area. Specialist Anderson had kept Corporal Hargis alive for one hour, 37 minutes and thirty seconds with two catastrophic leg amputations on an objective area laden with explosives. Specialist Anderson continued to treat Corporal Hargis on the aircraft until it returned to Kandahar Airfield. Specialist Anderson carried Corporal Hargis to the ambulance waiting on the airfield and accompanied Corporal Hargis into the emergency room at Kandahar Airfield’s Hospital. Specialist Anderson endured a total of seven IEDs or suicide vest blasts from a distance of no more than 10 meters within the course of 30 minutes. No fewer than 10 additional IEDs that did not explode were detected in the immediate area by EOD technicians. Despite exposure to two close-proximity blasts and effects of early onset traumatic brain injury, Specialist Anderson gathered himself at multiple times while continuing to treat patients under the most chaotic and terrifying conditions. He repeatedly transited the objective area within an active IED belt to administer aid to five different patients, without the route having been cleared by EOD technicians. His utter disregard for his own safety to treat fellow comrades was astounding, and his efforts to deftly perform intricate and complicated medical procedures with minimal equipment were herculean. Specialist Anderson directly contributed to saving Private First Class Pinnick’s and Corporal Hargis’ lives. With the exception of EOD technicians, Specialist Anderson was the most actively mobile strike force member on the objective. His attempts to save Sergeant Hawkins’ and Sergeant Peters’ lives, while directly risking his own, are admirable beyond description. Specialist Anderson is a credit to the training and dedication of all Ranger medics who, in the hour of greatest crisis, rise to the occasion to save their fellow Rangers and teammates with no consideration for their own well-being. Specialist Anderson heroically embodied the Ranger Creed throughout the night and was willing to give his life rather than leave a fallen comrade. His actions contributed to saving the lives of other members of the assault force and disrupted a major attack in Kandahar City that would have resulted in the deaths of unknown multitudes of innocent civilians. Throughout his distinctive accomplishments, Specialist Anderson’s actions were exceptional and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the Department of Defense.