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Army Staff Sgt. Dominic J. Annecchini's Silver Star citation

For Gallantry:

in action on 16 May 2012 during combat operations against an armed enemy of the United States as a Squad Leader for a Joint Task Force in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.  On this date, Sergeant Annecchini fearlessly exposed himself to effective fire from multiple barricaded shooters in order to rescue a wounded Afghan special operations soldier.  He was critically wounded during the engagement, but his selfless actions neutralized several barricaded enemies and prevented further friendly casualties.  Staff Sergeant Annecchini’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.
 
STAFF SERGEANT DOMINIC J. ANNECCHINI
SILVER STAR (VAL) OEF 

Staff Sergeant Dominic J. Annecchini, United States Army distinguished himself by exceptionally heroic gallantry on 16 May 2012 as a Ranger Rifle Squad Leader while deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.  Staff Sergeant Annecchini's heroic actions under effective enemy fire during combat operations in eastern Afghanistan saved the lives of at least two of his teammates and were instrumental in the death of at least five enemy fighters.

On 16 May 2012, SSG Annecchini participated in a hasty raid against enemy fighters in eastern Afghanistan.  SSG Annecchini was the mentor to an Afghan squad, assisting with their mission planning and clearance of the objective.  After the assault force inserted in to the target area, SSG Annecchini followed and supported the Afghan squad as they moved in to assault positions.  Once the target compound was isolated and contained by the remainder of the assault force, the Afghan squad began their deliberate clearance with SSG Annecchini following to provide guidance and direction throughout the mission. 

SSG Annecchini trailed the Afghan squad throughout the clearance of the target compound, providing guidance to the Squad Leader as they entered and secured each room.  As the Afghan troops moved from west to east along the compound, they removed civilian men, women and children and placed them in to protective custody outside the building.  The Afghan squad sent a team in to the last outside door of the compound and began clearance while SSG Annecchini remained outside to continue communication with the Afghan squad leader.  Once the Afghan troops entered the last room, their lead man received effective fire from five barricaded enemy inside the room.  The Afghan soldier was critically wounded and fell forward into the room with the enemy combatants.  SSG Annecchini realized the necessity to immediately neutralize the enemy threat and retrieve the fallen Afghan soldier, so he risked his own life to move toward the breach of the room.

SSG Annecchini had a choice to either remain behind cover or to deliberately enter the room where one Afghan soldier had already been critically wounded by enemy fire.  There was no cover or concealment for SSG Annecchini as he moved toward the fallen Afghan soldier, and he knew he would be exposed to the same enemy gunfire that had wounded the Afghan soldier.  With no regard for his own personal safety, SSG Annecchini entered the compound, moved to the breach of the last room, secured the breach, and communicated with his platoon sergeant to come up with a course of action to secure the fallen Afghan soldier and move him to safety.
 
While assessing the situation at the breach, SSG Annecchini identified the enemy fighters inside the room and engaged them at a rapid rate of fire with his M4 in order to protect the wounded Afghan soldier at the breach and the two other Afghan soldiers in an adjacent room.  SSG Annecchini moved in to retrieve the wounded Afghan soldier while continuing to engage the enemy personnel inside.  During this exchange, SSG Annecchini was critically wounded by a gunshot wound to the head as the enemy returned fire through the breach.  But SSG Annecchini's efforts were not in vain, as his suppression of the enemy allowed two Rangers to approach in order to assist with the clearance of the compound and the evacuation of the casualties.  SSG Annecchini's heroic actions undoubtedly saved the lives of the Afghan soldiers and Rangers who followed him into the compound and forced the enemy to attempt to break contact. 

Staff Sergeant Annecchini's bravery under fire, courageous actions, and dedication to the safety of his teammates were exemplary.  He is most deserving of the special recognition afforded by the awarding of the Silver Star Medal.  Through his distinctive accomplishments, Staff Sergeant Annecchini's actions and leadership reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
 

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