THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
ESTABLISHED BY AN ACT OF CONGRESS 9 JULY 1918 (AMENDED BY ACT OF 25 JULY 1963) AND AWARDED BY THE
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
SILVER STAR MEDAL
MASTER SERGEANT JOSHUA L. WHEELER
JOINT TASK FORCE
For gallantry in action on 22 October 2015 during combat operations against an armed enemy of the United States as a Team Leader for a Joint Task Force in support of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE. On multiple occasions, Master Sergeant Wheeler fearlessly exposed himself to heavy small arms fire from barricaded enemy positions. His selfless actions were critical in achieving the initiative during the most dangerous portion of the raid. Master Sergeant Wheeler’s actions saved the lives of the partner force. Master Sergeant Wheeler’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.
Born: Nov. 25, 1975 in Roland, Okla…. The actions of Wheeler and his team saved the lives of 70 prisoners that were reportedly scheduled to be executed the following day… Served on well over a dozen combat deployments during his 20-year career… Awarded 11 Bronze Stars, the Purple Heart, and the Cherokee Nation’s Medal of Patriotism in addition to his numerous other decorations…
The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pleasure in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to
CHIEF SPECIAL WARFARE OPERATOR (SEA, AIR, AND LAND)
EDWARD C. BYERS, JR.
UNITED STATES NAVY
for service as set forth in the following
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a Hostage Rescue Force Team Member in Afghanistan in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM from 8 to 9 December 2012. As the rescue force approached the target building, an enemy sentry detected them and darted inside to alert his fellow captors. The sentry quickly reemerged, and the lead assaulter attempted to neutralize him. Chief Byers with his team sprinted to the door of the target building. As the primary breacher, Chief Byers stood in the doorway fully exposed to enemy fire while ripping down six layers of heavy blankets fastened to the inside ceiling and walls to clear a path for the rescue force. The first assaulter pushed his way through the blankets, and was mortally wounded by enemy small arms fire from within. Chief Byers, completely aware of the imminent threat, fearlessly rushed into the room and engaged an enemy guard aiming an AK-47 at him. He then tackled another adult male who had darted towards the corner of the room. During the ensuing hand-to-hand struggle, Chief Byers confirmed the man was not the hostage and engaged him. As other rescue team members called out to the hostage, Chief Byers heard a voice respond in English and raced toward it. He jumped atop the American hostage and shielded him from the high volume of fire within the small room. While covering the hostage with his body, Chief Byers immobilized another guard with his bare hands, and restrained the guard until a teammate could eliminate him. His bold and decisive actions under fire saved the lives of the hostage and several of his teammates. By his undaunted courage, intrepid fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of near certain death, Chief Petty Officer Byers reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Born: Aug. 4, 1979 in Toledo, Oh…. Enlisted in 1998 and served as a corpsman until entering Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training… Graduate of BUD/S Class 242… Served in two combat assignments and 11 deployments… Awarded the Bronze Star five times and the Purple Heart twice… Is one of two Medal of Honor recipients currently serving in the Armed Forces
The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the NAVY CROSS (posthumously) to
JONATHAN W. GIFFORD
for service as set forth in the following
The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Gunnery Sergeant Jonathan William Gifford, United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism while serving as a Team Chief with Special Operations Task Force West, Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force – Afghanistan, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command in Support of Operation Enduring Freedom. On 29 July 2012, while advising Afghan Commandos conducting an operation into an insurgent stronghold village, Gunnery Sergeant Gifford observed three Commandos become casualties when the force received small arms fire shortly after insertion. Without hesitation he mounted an All-Terrain Vehicle and crossed 800 meters of exposed ground, performed first aid and, with the help of another Marine, moved the causalities several hundred meters to a protected landing zone for medical evacuation. The other Commandos were pinned down under heavy enemy fire and sustained more casualties. Realizing the Afghan force was in jeopardy, Gunnery Sergeant Gifford gathered extra ammunition and accompanied by a fellow Marine, crossed the same open terrain under fire, to reinforce the belabored Afghans. He rallied the Commandos and led an assault on the enemy. After eliminating an insurgent firing from a window, he climbed atop a building from which insurgents were engaging the Commandos, and dropped a grenade down the chimney. He continued to attack until he fell, mortally wounded, but his actions proved decisive in breaking the insurgent defense, and allowing the Commandos to secure the village. By his decisive actions, bold initiative, and complete dedication to duty, Gunnery Sergeant Gifford reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
AUTHORIZED BY CONGRESS
THE DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CROSS
SERGEANT FELIPE PEREIRA, UNITED STATES ARMY
EXTRAORDINARY HEROISM IN ACTION
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes great pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Sergeant Felipe Pereira, United States Army, for distinguished service and heroism with Combined Task Force Strike on 1 November. 2010. Specialist Felipe Pereira’s actions in the face of adversity and a determined enemy are keeping with the finest traditions of military valor. His dedication and commitment to duty undoubtedly saved the lives of two of his fellow Soldiers, while his leadership and distinguished service were instrumental to his unit’s successful response to a lethal attack. His actions reflect great credit upon himself, the “Strike” Brigade Combat Team, the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), and the United States Army. Specialist Felipe Pereira distinguished himself with heroism and exceptionally meritorious service on 1 November, 2010, while under heavy enemy fire as a team leader with Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division Air Assault while service in Senjaray, Zhari District, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. Specialist Pereira and his squad were returning from a dismounted patrol in Senjaray, when a suicide motorcycle borne explosive device detonated in the middle of his squad as they attempted to enter their combat outpost. Two Soldiers were killed instantly, while four others were severely wounded including his squad leader and fellow team leader. Specialist Pereira sustained shrapnel wounds to his spleen, liver, and left lung. While Soldiers struggled to gain situational awareness, the enemy initiated a complex ambush, firing on the patrol from an estimated seven fighting positions with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades. His lung beginning to collapse, he struggled to breathe. With little regard for his own safety or care, Specialist Pereira refused medical treatment and instead commandeered an all-terrain vehicle and moved back into heavy enemy fire to provide an evacuation platform for his wounded comrades. Specialist Pereira was able to move the vehicle within 20 meters of his fellow Soldiers; who were pinned down by enemy fire, but was unable to gain effective cover. Specialist Pereira immediately provided suppressive fires from the vehicle, allowing two of his fellow Soldiers to move two casualties to the vehicle. As bullets ricocheted off the vehicle and narrowly missed Specialist Pereira, he continued to provide fire direction for the remaining Soldiers on the ground. Specialist Pereira then quickly pulled the vehicle back into the entrance of the outpost, where medics were standing by to receive the casualties. Specialist Pereira helped move the casualties to care then moved back into enemy fire a second time to continue evacuating and directing his fellow Soldiers. Specialist Pereira is credited with saving the lives of two of his fellow Soldiers, while risking his own multiple occasions. Only after all of the wounded Soldiers had been evacuated and were receiving medical care, did he accept treatment himself. Specialist Pereira’s actions during the suicide attack in Senjaray, Zhari District, Afghanistan on Nov. 1, 2010, are what define heroes. He is truly a professional who understands his commitment to duty and his fellow Soldiers despite great odds and risk of life.
Born in Brazil, Pereira came to the United States in 2001 to learn English… Enlisted in the Army in 2008… Is a dual citizen of Brazil and the United States… Is first 101st soldier to earn the DSC since Vietnam
MATTHEW T. ABBATE
for service as set forth in the following
The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Sergeant Matthew T. Abbate, United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism as a Scout Sniper Section Leader, Third Battalion, Fifth Marines, Regimental Combat Team 2, SECOND Marine Division (Forward), II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) Afghanistan, on 14 October 2010 in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. While conducting a dismounted patrol through Sangin’s northern green zone and supporting the patrol as part of a Quick Reaction Force team, the insurgents opened fire from several well-prepared positions. Unknowingly ambushed in a minefield, the patrol members were moving into cover when two Marines and the Corpsman struck explosives in rapid succession. With the patrol leader incapacitated and three severe casualties, Sergeant Abbate took charge of the situation and, with total disregard for his own life, sprinted forward through the unswept minefield to draw fire and rally the dazed survivors. Exposed and personally suppressing the enemy, he directed the remaining squad member’s fires until they effectively suppressed the enemy and could render life-saving aid to the urgent casualties. After coordinating the medical evacuation, he then swept the landing zone for additional explosives before the patrol was again forced to take cover from enemy fire. Sergeant Abbate, knowing the casualties’ survival depended upon their rapid evacuation by helicopter, again rallied the patrol’s able men, and led a counter attack to clear enemy fighters from the landing zone and allow for the critically wounded men to be evacuated. By his outstanding display of decisive leadership, unlimited courage in the face of heavy enemy fire, and utmost devotion to duty, Sergeant Abbate reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
CHRISTOPHER B. FARIAS
for service as set forth in the following
The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Sergeant Christopher B. Farias, United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism while serving as an Assistant Squad Leader with First Battalion, Eleventh Marines, FIRST Marine Division (Forward), I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) Afghanistan, on 5 October 2010 in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. As Sergeant Farias’ squad and another squad were preparing to depart their patrol base on a night patrol in the hotly contested Kajaki region of Helmand Province, Taliban fighters unleashed an ambush of 73 millimeter recoilless rifle fire that inflicted at least seven Marine casualties, four requiring urgent medical attention. A heavy volume of small arms and machine gun fire then poured in on the Marines from three enemy positions. Despite suffering a concussion and neck and shoulder fragmentation wounds from the 73-mm. blasts, Sergeant Farias exposed himself to the unrelenting barrage of enemy fire, climbing onto the roof of the patrol base to engage the enemy with his rifle and grenade launcher and direct suppressive fire from two machine guns onto the enemy positions. His unhesitating actions allowed a reinforcing Marine squad to maneuver into the ambushed compound, clear the kill zone, and transport the friendly casualties to a landing zone 400 meters away. Refusing to seek treatment for his own wounds, Sergeant Farias steadfastly held his position on the roof providing protection for his fellow Marines until he and the last elements safely evacuated the patrol base. By his decisive actions, bold initiative, and complete dedication to duty, Sergeant Farias reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.
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 Craig David Warfle, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy from August 18 to 19, 2010 during combat operations against an armed enemy of the United States as an Automatic Rifleman for a Joint Task Force in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. During this period, Specialist Warfle, with total disregard for his own personal safety, maneuvered on a fortified enemy machine gun position through effective enemy fire. Even after being wounded, Specialist Warfle continued to suppress the enemy with high volumes of effective fire in order to allow his team members to pull his unconscious element leader to safety. Specialist Warfle refused to be medically evacuated from the fight and his actions allowed the Platoon to hastily withdraw and defeat the enemy utilizing air assets. Specialist Warfle’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 Craig D. Warfle distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous achievement as a Ranger Squad Automatic Weapons Gunner on August 18, 2010 while deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Specialist Warfle was assigned to a task force, whose mission was to capture or kill Al Qaeda (AQ) and Taliban (TB) Senior Leadership. Specialist Warfle’s valorous actions under effective fire while executing an objective saved the lives of his teammates and were instrumental in the death of at least 16 Taliban fighters, the removal of two Taliban Provincial Commanders, and the recovery of a large cache of weapons intended for use against Coalition Forces. On August 18, 2010, the team received special intelligence indicating that a Taliban Commander and weapons facilitator, was meeting near a tree line with at least 17 other Taliban fighters. Information gathered indicated that the enemy was orchestrating an ambush on Coalition Forces in Logar Province, Afghanistan. The team observed the fighters in position for the attack to include multiple spotters and runners used to communicate between the various fighting locations. The Battle Space Owner was notified of the imminent threat and diverted all convoys. When the enemy fighters aborted their attack they were observed walking in a military formation back towards a meeting site along a tree line. En route to that location the enemy fighters were positively identified to be carrying weapons. The team initiated a kinetic strike on the fighter’s location from two AH-64s. The team stood ready and boarded two CH-47 helicopters for insertion once the kinetic strike was complete. Immediately after the kinetic strike, the team inserted a Ranger Element onto the hot landing zone to the West of the target area to eliminate the several remaining enemy combatants. Ranger Element 1, consisting of Specialist Warfle and five others, were tasked with isolating the Northern side of the tree line and suppressing the enemy to allow Ranger Element 2 to assault from West to East. Upon infiltration the Ranger Assault Force received effective enemy fire in vicinity of the North-South running tree line where the AH-64s had just completed gun runs. As soon as Specialist Warfle stepped off the ramp he came under fire from multiple enemy positions and without hesitation returned fire and crawled 15 meters through the muddy field towards the enemy. From this position, Specialist Warfle suppressed the multiple enemy positions with 150 rounds from his MK-46 allowing Ranger Element 1 to move to the North and Ranger Element 2 to maneuver to the South. Under fire and with no cover in the open field, Specialist Warfle continued to suppress the enemy positions permitting members of the Assault Force to get down in the prone position while the leaders determined a way to assault the enemy positions. After a couple of minutes passed, Ranger Element 2 came under heavy effective fire from enemy crew served weapons. Realizing that Ranger Element 2 was effectively pinned down in the open field to the South, Specialist Warfle moved with Sergeant Lugo to the North to flank the enemy position from the North-West. Specialist Warfle, while under heavy effective enemy fire, advanced on the enemy position to suppress the enemy and allow the Assault Force to maneuver on and destroy the entrenched enemy. As Sergeant Lugo and Specialist Warfle voluntarily maneuvered towards the enemy positions they identified two entrenched enemy personnel with automatic weapons firing on the Assault Force. Specialist Warfle continued to advance on the entrenched enemy using suppressive fire alone to protect Sergeant Lugo and himself because there was no available cover in open terrain. When Sergeant Lugo and Specialist Warfle got within 25 meters of the enemy machine gun positions, Specialist Warfle and Sergeant Lugo were both hit with a volley of machine gun fire. Although Specialist Warfle knew he had been shot in the right shoulder he disregarded his own personal safety and moved through the kill zone to Sergeant Lugo’s side to protect his incapacitated Squad Leader. Specialist Warfle purposefully positioned himself in the line of enemy fire and immediately suppressed the enemy in order to defend Sergeant Lugo and provide covering fire for the platoon medic, Sergeant Solomon, to move to and treat Sergeant Lugo. Specialist Warfle fearlessly continued to provide accurate suppressive fire from his exposed position, allowing Staff Sergeant Myers and Sergeant Kochli the ability to move forward, suppress the enemy, and then subsequently evacuate Sergeant Lugo. Specialist Warfle continued to provide suppressive fire as Sergeant Solomon, Staff Sergeant Tucker, and Sergeant Kochli pulled Sergeant Lugo back to cover. Only after the casualty evacuation aircraft evacuated Sergeant Lugo, did Specialist Warfle treat the through and through gunshot wound to his right shoulder by applying a tourniquet to his right arm. Specialist Warfle then proceeded to engage the enemy position from a position between the enemy and the Platoon for over twenty minutes while the Assault Force reconsolidated and moved back away from the enemy positions. He steadfastly remained at his forward position delivering accurate fire on the enemy until all members of the Assault Force had moved across the open field to cover 100 meters to the West. Specialist Warfle bounded back to the West over the open field while the Assault Force provided suppressive fire. Specialist Warfle’s actions allowed the Assault Force to break contact, drop ordnance on the enemy positions, and safely move to the exfiltration hot landing zone. By repeatedly risking his life for others, Specialist Warfle’s purposeful gallant actions, selfless dedication to the safety of his teammates, and demonstrated extraordinary heroism were distinctive and exemplary. He is most deserving of the distinct recognition. Through his distinctive accomplishments, Specialist Warfle’s personal actions reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
CLIFFORD M. WOOLDRIDGE
for service as set forth in the following
The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Corporal Clifford M. Wooldridge, United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism while serving as Vehicle Commander, Combined Anti-Armor Platoon White, Weapons Company, Third Battalion, Seventh Marines, Regimental Combat Team 2, FIRST Marine Division (Forward), I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) Afghanistan, on 18 June 2010 in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. When their mounted patrol came under intense enemy fire, Corporal Wooldridge and his squad dismounted and maneuvered on the suspected enemy location. Spotting a group of fifteen enemy fighters preparing an ambush, Corporal Wooldridge led one of his fire teams across open ground to flank the enemy, killing or wounding at least eight and forcing the rest to scatter. As he held security alone to cover his fire team’s withdrawal, he heard voices from behind an adjacent wall. Boldly rushing around the corner, he came face-to-face with two enemy fighters at close range, killing both of them with his M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon. As he crouched back behind the wall to reload, he saw the barrel of an enemy machine gun appear from around the wall. Without hesitation, he dropped his empty weapon and seized the machine gun barrel. He overwhelmed the enemy fighter in hand-to-hand combat, killing him with several blows to the head with the enemy’s own machine gun. His audacious and fearless actions thwarted the enemy attack on his platoon. By his bold and decisive leadership, undaunted courage under fire, and total dedication to duty, Corporal Wooldridge reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.