Special Forces soldiers who 'get the job done' recognized with valor awards
Staff Sgt. Michael Sargent, Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group, is recognized
with the Silver Star Medal during an award ceremony on April 29, 2016 in Tacoma, Washington.
Staff Sgt. Sargent distinguished himself by completely exposing himself without hesitation to extremely
close enemy fire in order to secure a fallen Afghan commando and recover a fallen soldier to safety during
combat action in Afghanistan on December 17, 2015. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Jason Kriess)
Special Forces soldiers who ‘get the job done’ recognized with valor awards
TACOMA – Special forces soldiers don’t go looking for honors. They’re humble. They’re professional and, as Major General Bret Daugherty puts it, they “overcome great hardship on a routine basis.”
Soldiers, friends and family members joined Daugherty, the commander of the Washington National Guard, at the Landmark Convention Center in Tacoma on Friday, April 29 to recognize the heroism and bravery of members of Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group during their recent deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operations Freedom's Sentinel and Resolute Support.
During the ceremony, General Daugherty sang the praises not only of the individuals receiving decoration, but the strength of character and competence of the Special Forces unit as a whole.
“While we're going to pin medals on nine very deserving individuals,” Daugherty said. “This ceremony is really a reflection on the entire unit. These men are heroes, plain and simple. …
“They don't boast,” Daugherty added. “They don't draw undue attention to themselves. They just get the job done.”
Sarah Vargo, J9 contractor and Gold Star widow, receives a special plaque
for her services in assisting Alpha Company, 1-19th Special Forces Group
in coordinating support and providing benefits to the family of Sgt. 1st Class
Matthew McClintock, who was killed in action in Afghanistan on January 5, 2016.
(U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Jason Kriess)
The members of Alpha Company had the critical mission of developing and formally partnering with components of the Afghan National Army including the Afghan Local Police and parts of the Police Special Tactics units.
Nine members of Alpha Company were awarded medals for exceptionally brave deeds during periods of fierce fighting in and around Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
All of the men distinguished themselves uniquely by exposing themselves to enemy fire to come to the aid of fellow teammates as well as that of their Afghani counterparts.
Six Army Commendation Medals with valor were awarded along with two Bronze Star Medals with valor, one Purple Heart and one Silver Star Medal. Many of the valor awards that were presented came from actions during the same battle that claimed the life of their teammate Sgt. 1st Class Matthew McClintock, who was killed in action on Jan. 5, 2016.
“The men we honored today, including those who were unable to be with us, represent the best of what is inside all of those who serve this great nation,” said Maj. Aron Horiel, commander of Alpha Company. “It is truly an honor and a privilege to be their commander.”
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