Afghan battle produces many medal winners

April 13, 2009 at 8:36 PM

FORT BENNING, Ga., April 13 (UPI) -- A single fierce battle between U.S. and Afghan soldiers and enemy insurgents in 2008 produced 11 Silver Stars and 17 Bronze Stars, Army officials say.

Another 25 received Army Commendation Medals for their roles in the July 13 firefight that pitted about 45 Americans and 24 Afghans against up to 200 militants four about four hours, Army Times reported Monday.

It turned out to be a deadly encounter for the soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment. Nine paratroopers died and 27 were wounded.

Two of the Silver Star recipients, Capt. Matt Myer and Sgt. Michael Denton, were honored March 30 at Fort Benning, Ga., where both are now assigned, Army Times said. Myer called it "very humbling to get an award like this" for what he said was a team effort.

"I want to highlight the guys who gave the ultimate price," he said. "There's no award you can give them that's worthy of that."

Denton was among those wounded, yet he gave first aid to a comrade and fought on despite his injuries, and then worked to get the injured aboard a Medevac helicopter.

"That right there is what we call uncommon valor," Myer said. "Someone who's in immediate danger, who's hurt pretty badly, he still assaulted up there and was defending where they needed him most."

Myer was cited for his "steadfast leadership and calm direction of the battle," which "singularly enabled the battalion to bring the full force of all available enablers to bear on the determined enemy formation, allowing the outnumbered group of American paratroopers to decisively defeat a much larger enemy force fighting from advantageous terrain."

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