Skip to comments.Pfc. Christopher Fernandez earns Silver Star
Posted on 09/07/2004 8:50:46 PM PDT by Former Military Chick
An 18-year-old private earned the first Silver Star medal awarded to a soldier from the 1st Cavalry Division serving in Iraq after he helped fight off a deadly guerrilla ambush in May that killed two of his comrades and wounded five.
Pfc. Christopher Fernandez held insurgents at bay while his companions gathered wounded and dying soldiers. The Associated Press
Pfc. Christopher Fernandez of Tucson, Ariz., received the Silver Star from the division's commander, Maj. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, on Aug. 13. The Silver Star, the military's third-highest combat medal, is given for uncommon valor in combat.
Fernandez, a Humvee machine gunner, is credited with holding a band of insurgents at bay while his comrades gathered wounded and dead soldiers from a vehicle disabled by a roadside bombing. The ambush took place May 5 in western Baghdad.
One soldier who carried the dead and wounded to safety, 33-year-old Sgt. Timothy Buttz of Bloomington, Minn., was decorated with the Army's Bronze Star, with a special commendation for valor.
"After the [bomb] went off, I noticed their Humvee was taking fire. That's when I started shooting back," said Fernandez, a quiet, lanky man.
Fernandez ran out of ammunition for his M-249 machine gun. He sprinted to the disabled Humvee and grabbed a damaged M-240 machine gun and dashed back to his position to continue firing. The M-240's protective hand guards had been blown off, and Fernandez said he burned his hands in about 10 minutes of sustained shooting.
"I knew I had to do something," said Fernandez, interviewed at 1st Cavalry headquarters near Baghdad International Airport.
The soldiers who died in the attack were Pfc. Bradley Kritzer, 19, of Irvona, Pa., and Spec. James Marshall, 18, of Tulsa.
His parents, community must be proud.
bump for these excellent soldiers
Dont stop shooting back until the gun melts!
Bump for a true American hero! God bless him and keep him in His care.
BUMP!!! for a hero.
He may be a 7th generation American for all I know, but Hispanic names seem to be popping up quite frequently on war heroes this year.
This man makes me feel proud to be an American, and a former member of the 1st Cav. God's abundant blessings to Pfc Fernandez.
He is indeed an excellent soldier. Will we hear about this in the news, I fear not.
BTTT! Roger, that.
I to, will keep him, his fellow soldiers and the families in my prayers. Our military is lucky to have him and we are lucky to have him defending our freedom.
WOW! His heroic act was almost as brave a Kerry's brave act that won him his silver star.......of course Kerry's had a V for valor on his. What did you say? A V is illegal on a Silver Star? It can't be! Kerry wouldn't embellish his awards.....would he? Are those rice pellets still lodged in his buttocks? (/sarcasm>
One more hometown hero - ROTC comrade of mine from Marquette Univ.:
Thank you for adding this hero to the thread. What fine men and women we have in todays Armed Forces. I salute each of you.
****Brookfield soldier to receive medal****
Distinguished Service Cross cites courage
By TOM HELD
Last Updated: Nov. 7, 2003
The first Distinguished Service Cross awarded since the Vietnam War will be bestowed upon a Special Forces officer from Brookfield during a ceremony in Florida on Thursday.
Maj. Mark Mitchell will receive the nation's second-highest military honor for his "unparalleled courage under fire, decisive leadership and personal sacrifice" during a fierce, three-day battle in outside Mazar-e-Sharif in Afghanistan.
Johnny Michael "Mike" Spann was the first American killed in Afghanistan during the uprising of roughly 500 Taliban prisoners in the Qala-I-Jangi fortress. Mitchell led the Special Forces group that quelled the uprising and ensured that Spann's partner escaped safely.
Mitchell's parents, Terry and Kathy Mitchell, will join him at the award ceremony MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, Fla.
The Special Forces commander graduated from Marquette University High School and Marquette University before joining the Army. He served in the 24th Infantry Division in Desert Shield/Desert Storm, in 1990-'91.
In the first months of the war in Afghanistan, Mitchell commanded a Special Forces group assisting the Northern Alliance and preparing the area around Mazar-e-Sharif for humanitarian aid workers.
When the uprising broke out in the fortress, he gathered roughly 15 Special Forces troops and led them into battle against Taliban prisoners who had armed themselves from stockpiles of machine guns, automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
With assistance from the Northern Alliance, the Special Forces troops ended the uprising on the third day.
Mitchell has continued to serve under the Special Forces central command in the war on Iraq.
Yeah, I can see why. Blues is not a common American surname.
lol but my first name Boxer really throws them for a loop, is she k-9 or human
August 16, 2004
Release Number: 04-08-51
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SILVER STAR MEDAL GOES TO 1ST CAVALRY DIVISION SOLDIER
BAGHDAD 1st Cavalry Divisions first Silver Star Medal for valor in combat during this deployment was presented to Private 1st Class Christopher Fernandez Aug. 13.
Fernandez, a multiple launch rocket system crewman, was awarded the Silver Star for actions he had taken May 5, when his unit came under attack. Fernandez, a Tucson, Ariz. native, was on a patrol through the citys Saidiyah neighborhood when insurgents ambushed his unit.
An improvised explosive device hit the patrols rear vehicle. Immediately following the explosion, the patrol was barraged with small-arms fire. The patrols crew-served weapons, an M-240B machine gun and a .50 caliber machine gun, immediately returned fire.
Two U.S. Soldiers were killed and five others were wounded in the IED explosion and their vehicle was inoperable.
Fernandez returned fire with his weapon, an M-249 squad automatic weapon. He reloaded his weapon at least once during the short engagement, said Capt. Thomas Pugsley, Battery As commander.
There was a tremendous volume of fire coming at them, Pugsley said.
In all the chaos, Fernandez saw the stricken vehicles M-240B machine gun was unused. Acting on instinct, Fernandez knew that another weapon would suppress the enemys fire long enough to evacuate the wounded and leave the area. He left his vehicle, ran to the disabled humvee and recovered the weapon and its ammunition.
Fernandez then opened fire on the enemy.
What made all of that spectacular was the recovered weapons condition, said Pugsley. The hand guards covering the machine-guns barrel, so the gunners hands wont burn, were blown off in the explosion. That didnt matter to Fernandez though; he kept firing even though his hands were burning.
Almost 10 minutes later, the wounded were loaded onto the Fernandezs vehicle and the ambush site abandoned.
Pfc. Christopher Fernandez is a hero, Chiarelli said. He represents the best of us. He embodies the Army Values and the Warrior Ethos.
Its a great honor, said Fernandez in Battery A, 1st Battalion, 21st Field Artillery Regiment. I never thought it would happen.
The Silver Star is the Armys fifth highest medal for valor and the third highest during combat and is rarely given to enlisted Soldiers.
a heroic bump for a real hero
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