Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wednesday Hero

SSgt. Michael Pate

SSgt. Michael Pate31 years old from Austin, Texas
Civil Affairs Team 611

U.S. Army

From SSgt. Pate's Silver Star citation:

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by an act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Staff Sergeant Michael P. Pate, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in connection with military operations against the enemy. Staff Sergeant Pate heroically distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous conduct in the face of the enemy of the United States as Medical Sergeant, Civil Affairs Team 611, Special Operations Task Force-Southeast, Village Stability Platform Shobar, Afghanistan, in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. On the afternoon of November 1, 2012, while conducting a routine civil reconnaissance patrol, Sergeant Pates' patrol came under small-arms and automatic weapons fire in an ambush east of the village of Sardar Kala, Afghanistan. The entire patrol was heading east, stretched out over a 400 meter distance and was caught in a freshly plowed farmer's field that gently sloped upward. The only cover or concealment came in the form of ankle high irrigation berms. Sergeant Pate's element 4 was the western most squad and was 175 meters from 2 fortified heavy machine gun positions and at least 6 additional enemy shooters who used a dense orchard village which provided multiple egress routes, and also contained a large number of civilians in the area. The trail man in element 4 also carried the heavy weapon system and was critically wounded when a bullet from the initial burst struck him in the back. The enemy machine-gunners concentrated fire on the element 4 members. Sergeant Pate realized the necessity to immediately neutralize the enemy threat and render aid to his wounded teammate, so he risked his own life to run over 50 meters back toward the enemy fighting positions. While the other members of element four were pinned down and returning fire, Sergeant Pate and his team leader, Captain Jacob Allen, chose to run through heavy and effective fire to their teammates position, and dragged the wounded teammate over 25 meters to the only cover available in the form of a 6 inch retaining berm, while continuing to return fire on the enemy position. Sergeant Pate performed flawlessly under heavy enemy fire, performing surgical interventions without cover or concealment while simultaneously returning effective fire for more than 10 minutes. He remained exposed while hundreds of enemy bullets impacted all around them in order to coordinate with his Joint Terminal Attack Controller for close air support and MEDEVAC, and to update the ground force commander with enemy position information so the other elements could maneuver to, close with, and terminate two enemy fighters. His actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of military heroism and reflect distinct credit upon himself,Army.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives just so that we may get to enjoy our freedom. For that I am proud to call them Hero.

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