Three Airmen from the Airforce Special Operations Command were decorated for valor for their actions in a battle that took place in 2014 in Afghanistan.
On Sept. 27, 2014, a team of U.S. Special Operations troops was dropped into a volatile village in Afghanistan’s Helmand province. 21 Americans and about 60 Afghan commando counterparts were to clear a bazaar of weapons and insurgents, and then get out. The insurgents, numbering close to 100, sprung a fierce attack in which they not only launched a barrage of fire on the Americans, but made plans on the radio to overrun their position and take them hostage, the airmen said.
Senior Airman Dustin H. Temple was awarded the rare and prestigious Air Force Cross, which is second only to the Medal of Honor in honoring heroism in combat in the service. Goodman and Tech. Sgt. Matthew J. Greiner were awarded the Silver Star, which is two levels below the Medal of Honor.
The coalition launched 80 airstrikes during the mission, killing a confirmed 38 insurgents and destroying 28 vehicles, 17 buildings and 32 enemy fighting positions, Air Force officials said. The first team included Temple, Weathers, seven other U.S. Special Operations troops and five Afghan commandos. It received 80 percent of the fire during the first portion of the battle. The second element included Greiner, Goodman and 11 other Special Operations troops, along with 50 Afghan commandos. The third team had four U.S. troops and five Afghan commandos.
Temple is credited with putting himself in the line of fire of Snipers after weathers had been shot to drag him from a rooftop and then to a helicopter that had arrived to evacuate him.
“Despite overwhelming and accurate enemy machine gun fire, he remained in the open landing zone, providing covering fire while his teammates pulled back,” his Air Force Cross citations states. “After he returned to the compound, enemy fighters surged within 40 meters after intercepted communications stated ‘Take the Americans alive.'”