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Washington airman to receive Silver Star for heroism in repelling Taliban ambush

Post by Adam Ashton / The News Tribune on April 27, 2012 at 10:09 am |
April 27, 2012 3:36 pm
U.S. Army soldiers from 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment as well as Afghan National Army soldiers from the 201st Infantry Corps seek cover while under fire shortly after their air assault into the valley near the village of Do Ab, Nuristan Province, Afghanistan May 25, 2011. (Photo courtesy of the helmet camera of Spc. Nathan Cunningham,

A Washington National Guardsman who helped repel a massive ambush by more than 200 Taliban insurgents in a 13-hour battle last year will a receive a Silver Star for his heroism, the National Guard announced today.

Technical Sgt. Tavis Delaney’s honor represents the third Silver Star for the Washington National Guard to emerge from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Delaney is to receive is medal in a ceremony on Sunday, May 6.

He distinguished himself by putting himself in mortal danger to call in close air strikes against Taliban fighters who held the high ground in an ambush against a U.S. patrol on May 25, 2011 near the village of Do Ab in Nuristan Province.

“His gallantry under fire saved the lives of more than 64 coalition forces and contributed to the destruction of more than 200 Taliban insurgents,” his commendation reads.

For seven intense hours, the battle could have resulted in multiple U.S. and Afghan army casualties. In that time, Delaney “bravely stood upright” as bullets and rockets rained down on coalition positions so he could establish communications with aircraft overhead and call in the coordinates of enemy positions.

“To save his fellow soldiers, he repeatedly sprinted back and forth between the huts and the sheep pen positions for the next 6 hours, exposed to frighteningly effective enemy fire from every direction,” his commendation reads.

It took 13 hours for coalition aircraft to run down the Taliban forces aligned against the American and Afghan troops who entered Do Ab that day.

“They owned the high ground,” Delaney told Air Force times in an August 2011 interview. “They had fire superiority. They had hundreds of people. And we killed almost all of them and didn’t lose a single American in seven hours of battle. It was seven hours of full-blown, slugfest, back-and-forth, rounds-smacking-right-over-your-head battle.”

Delaney serves with the 116th Air Support Operations Squadron, which is made up of tactical air control party members who provide expertise on close air support during ground missions. The National Guard calls them “the furthest extension of the Air Force influence on the Army’s battlefield.”

About 20 airmen from Delaney’s unit deployed from March 2011 to July 2011.

“Time after time, they have been the decisive difference on the battlefield, and (Technical Sgt.) Delaney is deserving of this high honor,” said Maj. Gen. Timothy J. Lowenberg, the commander of the Washington National Guard.


Combat footage from TSgt Tavis Delaney from Washington National Guard

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