A soldier has received the Silver Star for capturing explosive devices and triggermen in Iraq.
Master Sgt. Eric Gagne, who serves as a reconnaissance platoon sergeant with the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment “Golden Dragons,” 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) out of Fort Drum, N.Y., also was cited for his ability to react to any situation.
He showed that quality when he spotted a triggerman preparing to detonate an explosive, according to a statement issued Sunday by Multi-National Corps— Iraq.
Gagne had been waiting in ambush but moments before springing it, he noticed the triggerman was accompanied by a small child. Instead of using lethal force, Gagne chose to leap out and tackle the man, rather than risk the life of the child, officials say.
Gagne, of Francestown, N.H., also is credited for capturing insurgent cells and weapons caches during many patrols.
The former ranger instructor said he performs standard infantry skills.
“We get out and walk,” said Gagne, who received the medal on Friday at Patrol Base Dragon southwest of Baghdad. “So far the old school light infantry tactics are working. It is all basic Ranger School, Field Manual 7-8 tactics.”
The Silver Star is the fourth highest military decoration that can be awarded to any member of the U.S. armed forces.
Also, Staff Sgt. Anthony Skirko, a native of Kemp, Texas, who serves as a fire support officer with 2-14, was awarded the Soldier’s Medal for rescuing soldiers from a Humvee that had rolled over in a canal, officials say.
Skirko threw off his helmet and body armor and went into rancid water. Forcing open the reinforced armor door, he crawled into the vehicle and pulled the soldiers out, an amazing feat of strength, noted Lt. Col. John Valledor, the 2-14 commander.
The Solder’s Medal, issued by the U.S. Army, honors heroism not involving actual conflict with the enemy. It often goes to soldiers who risk their lives to save others.
Eleven other soldiers from 2-14 received valorous awards at the Friday ceremony.