AverageNCO tipped us to the story of now-retired Air Force Master Sergeant Kristopher Parker and the events of May 21, 2014 in the mountains of Kandahar Providence in Afghanistan that earned him a Silver Star Medal. From the Abilene Reporter News;
On May 21, 2014, during an air assault mission in Afghanistan, Parker and his team approached a cave expected to be filled with improvised explosives, ammunition and supplies. A nine-hour gunfight with enemy insurgents erupted.
During that fight, the group’s lieutenant was severely wounded, and Parker “just took the lead,” Rand said.
“He just led his way out, and he saved his men’s lives, and he saved the lives of soldiers and airmen,” he said.
Parker immediately returned fire, holding insurgents in the cave opening. His team came under attack by small arms fire, rocket-propelled grenades and hand-thrown improvised explosive devices
He directed suppressive fire and led the evacuation of the injured lieutenant, braving enemy direct fire while sweeping the engagement area for explosive devices, pulling troops to cover and aiding in timely evacuation of wounded personnel.
Parker engaged the enemy continually, suppressing and drawing fire upon himself while marking additional cache sites for avoidance by ground forces and later destruction by air strike.
Two other members of Parker’s team were submitted for Bronze Stars with Valor for their actions that day, according to Hill AFB’s website;
Senior Airman TJ Brantley and (then) Senior Airman Kyle Bushey…Bushey’s bravery and heroism selflessly put the lives of fellow Soldiers and Airmen before his own and directly enabled the trapped platoon to break contact and evacuate the wounded.
Throughout the grueling 10-hour mission, despite dehydration and a traumatic brain injury, Brantley stayed in the fight providing cover fire and exposing his body to protect the wounded. He was awarded the Air Force Combat Action Medal and the Purple Heart Medal.
Category: Air Force