STUTTGART, Germany -- Two U.S Army Green Berets were recognized with Silver Stars during a ceremony on Monday in Stuttgart, where 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group troops were honored for heroic actions on the battlefield in Afghanistan.
During the ceremony at Patch Barracks, which included a special video-taped message from the commander of the Afghanistan mission, Gen. David Petraeus, 12 other servicemembers received Bronze Stars with the “V” device for valor. Two additional soldiers received the Army Commendation Medal with “V” device.
Master Sgt. William J. Dickinson was awarded the Silver Star for leading a special operations team that thwarted an attack on Bagram Air Base on May 19, 2010, when insurgents dressed as American soldiers stormed the base.
Staff Sergeant Adam B. Dorner was awarded the Silver Star for leading a team of Green Berets and Afghan National Security Forces in response to an ambush in Logar province in 2010. Dorner ran more than 150 meters through open terrain to reach his unit’s mortar system to return fire on the enemy at “grave personal risk.”
“Matchless courage, relentless commitment … and, of course, quiet but very impressive professionalism,” said Petraeus, in his video-taped message from Afghanistan, of the 16 servicemembers who were recognized. “Their courage not only saved lives, but also inspired, and continues to inspire all of us here.”
The ceremony included multimedia presentations detailing the troops’ actions. In it, Dorner said of valor: “ It just kind of comes out when it needs to come out.”
Humble in ordinary life, the troops are anything but that on the battlefield, said Maj. Gen. Michael Repass, commander of Special Operations Command Europe.
“These are men of deeds, not words,” Repass said.
Following the ceremony, the medal recipients were whisked away to a private reception.
Here are more detailed accounts of the actions that resulted in the Silver Stars:
Master Sgt. William J. Dickinson
On May 19, 2010, Dickinson and his five-man special operations team were getting ready for bed in the early morning hours at Bagram Airfield when explosions reverberated around the north end of the base. Dickinson immediately mobilized, according to a unit account of the events.
He and the other men gathered their gear and moved toward the sound of fire, exposed to enemy Rocket Propelled Grenades. Special Operations Task Force 10 pressed forward, killing three insurgents who had breached the outer perimeter wall of the base, according to the unit account. Dickinson and two other team members cleared through to the outer perimeter wall, evading thrown grenades.
Countering with their own grenades, Dickinson and his team secured their position and observed that the three insurgents from their first engagement were dressed in the U.S. Army Combat Uniform and equipped with suicide vests, hand grenades, RPGs, and AK-47 assault rifles.
“Though exposed to enemy observation, MSG Dickinson led four other team members over the wall,” according to the unit account. “Four additional deceased insurgents were identified immediately on the other side. Another, still living, tried to arm his suicide vest and was quickly neutralized by MSG Dickinson and members of the HQ element.”
Meanwhile, 20 more insurgents were massing 800 yards southwest of Dickinson’s position. Dickinson’s five-man team and eight volunteers assembled to hunt down the enemy.
“MSG Dickinson fearlessly took point in the front, skirting the (base) perimeter to close with and engage the assaulting enemy,” the unit stated.
During the patrol, one team member stepped on a land mine and was severely injured. Dickinson ran 20 yards from the front of the patrol to deliver first aid. After helping to get the injured solder back over the wall and out of harm’s way, Dickinson grabbed a mine detector from an engineer on the perimeter, scaled the wall a final time and cleared a path for the four patrol members still in harm’s way.
In the end, eight insurgents were killed and the synchronized assault on Bagram was thwarted.
Staff Sergeant Adam B. Dorner:
On August 17, 2010, Dorner’s team of Green Berets was conducting route reconnaissance in Logar province with 20 Afghan National Security Forces members when insurgents launched a complex ambush, using roadside bombs, mortars, Rocket Propelled Grenades and small arms fire, according to the unit account.
Dorner, who was dismounted at the front of the convoy, returned fire despite lack of cover until his weapon malfunctioned. Dorner then ran more than 150 yards through open terrain to reach his unit’s 60mm mortar system, despite RPG rounds detonating within 30 yards of his location. He took hold of the mortar and delivered 10 rounds on the insurgent positions, according to the account.
Dorner then led a maneuver element consisting of seven Afghans and three soldiers from his Special Operations Task Unit 0116 and “fearlessly took point of his element and led a bold assault across 300 meters of mostly open terrain and dislodged the enemy from their established position,” the unit account of the events stated.
Dorner accepted “grave personal risk” at four separate stages of the firefight.
“His tenacity and leadership were the vital ingredients in finally ending the engagement, directly enabling the safe return of all U.S. and ANSF service members,” the unit account stated.
Fourteen other troops were honored on Monday. They were:
Bronze Star with “V” device
Capt. Craig Bighouse
Sgt. 1st Class Michael Murray
Sgt. 1st Class McKenna Miller
Sgt. 1st Class Rodney Reshel
Staff Sgt. Sabriel Ashley
Staff Sgt. Robert Murray
Staff Sgt. Patrick Roberts
Staff Sgt. Richard Telck
Staff Sgt. Robert Malcher
Air Force Staff Sgt. David Ibsen
Air Force Staff Sgt. Theodore Hofkneckt
Pfc. William Langley
Army Commendation Medal with “V” device
Staff Sgt. Ricky Streeter
Staff Sgt. Sean Pridemore