Two more soldiers from the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division will be awarded the Silver Star for their actions in Iraq last year, Fort Lewis announced.
The brigade has scheduled a ceremony 1:30 p.m. Thursday at Sheridan Gym to present the medals to Sgt. 1st Class Ismael Iban and Staff Sgt. Jon Hilliard, both of the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment. CORRECTION: Hilliard is from the 5/20; Iban is from C Company, 52nd Infantry Regiment, the brigade’s anti-tank company.
This makes at least 10 Silver Stars for the Arrowhead Brigade in the 2006-07 deployment. The medal is the nation’s third-highest award for combat valor, after the Distinguished Service Cross and the Medal of Honor. Word has it there is a DSC pending for a 3rd Brigade soldier, but more than that I can’t say.
From the Fort Lewis press release Tuesday:
Sgt. 1st Class Ismael Iban … will be recognized for his actions on Feb. 19, 2007, when a Joint Security Station at Tarmiyah was attacked by a suicide bomber driving a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device. While responding to the station’s call for help, Iban and his Soldiers faced complex attacks from enemy using small arms fire and rocket propelled grenades. Under Iban’s leadership, a platoon of just 12 Soldiers successfully defended the station from continuing attacks while establishing a defensive perimeter, clearing debris and securing a helicopter landing zone. Those actions resulted in the securing of the station and successful evacuation of all 21 Soldiers who were wounded in the attack.
Staff Sgt. Jon Hilliard was in a Stryker combat vehicle during a March 2007 patrol in Baqubah when it was attacked by a powerful improvised explosive device. Hilliard was thrown out onto the roof of the Stryker vehicle by the force of the blast. In spite of multiple injuries to his left leg, he exposed himself to enemy small arms and machine gun fire in order to free a M240B machine gun and ammunition from the burning wreckage. He then identified enemy positions and provided suppressive fire while other wounded Soldiers were evacuated. Hilliard then retrieved his own M203 grenade launcher from where it had been blown out of the vehicle and employed high-explosive grenades, effectively neutralizing the enemy position.
Per the Army Human Resources Commmand, 347 Silver Stars have been awarded from the Iraq war through early December.