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Magnum Photos - Matthew Ferrara Afghanistan

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medals_silver_star_100x200.jpgThe President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by an act of July 25, 1963), takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to First Lieutenant (Infantry) Matthew C. Ferrara, United States Army, for exceptionally valorous conduct during Operation ENDURING FREEDOM VIII while assigned as a Platoon Leader in Chosen Company, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Parachute Infantry Regiment, 173d Airborne Brigade Combat Team. First Lieutenant Ferrara's courageous leadership and calm demeanor under fire were instrumental in repelling an overwhelming attack by an enemy force three times larger than his own. During three hours of intense combat First Lieutenant Ferrara expertly led his men in the defense of the Aranas Outpost until he was able to call for air strikes danger close to his own position to neutralize the enemy threat. His actions reflect great credit upon himself, the Rock Battalion, the Bayonet Brigade Combat Team, and the United States Army. 

NARRATIVE TO ACCOMPANY AWARD: On 22 August 2007, at 0455 Lima the Ranch House Outpost at Aranas, Afghanistan, was attacked from all sides by a company sized insurgent force, simultaneously engaging every post in the perimeter by multiple RPGs and small arms fire. First Lieutenant Ferrara was serving as the Platoon Leader First Platoon, C Company, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Parachute Infantry Regiment, 173d Airborne Brigade Combat Team. On that morning he woke up to the sound of intense small arms fire and RPG explosions. When he moved outside of his quarters he came under effective small arms fire and he saw Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan Security Guard (ASG) forces fleeing from their post, which had swiftly been overrun by the insurgents. First Lieutenant Ferrara immediately contacted his higher command to report the situation. He deployed his men around the TOC and contacted all for reports but quickly lost communication with Post 3 and Post 4. First Lieutenant Ferrara recognized the need to employ fires to disrupt enemy's movement. He directed fire on enemy targets with the 120-mm. mortars at Bella Outpost. The TOC began to take effective RPG fire from the ANA post that had been overrun by the enemy and communications were knocked out when an RPG destroyed his antenna. Recognizing that the fight would be lost if he could not maintain communications with higher elements he took a radio out of the TOC and reestablished the PLT CP at a location from which he had better awareness of the battle and could better direct the defense. First Lieutenant Ferrara concluded that all the effective fire was coming from the south east of the Ranch House and that the ANA and ASG posts had been overtaken by the insurgents and that these would make excellent targets for CAS when the A-10s arrived. First Lieutenant Ferrara explained the enemy situation to the pilots and gave them targets marking his own location with a VS17 panel. He directed air strikes against the enemy while taking effective fire from the insurgents firing 10 meters form his location. His precise reporting allowed the A-10s to strafe insurgents that had advanced to within 10 meters of US forces. He continued to use CAS to destroy the enemy by conducting two additional gun runs within danger close range of friendly troops. The gun runs stopped the enemy advance causing them to retreat from their attack. Despite taking 50% casualties to the US forces from enemy fire, First Lieutenant Ferrara quickly moved from a defensive to offensive posture. He assembled a team and directed them to clear through the rest of the perimeter to find all enemy and collect all casualties. After casualties were evacuated, First Lieutenant Ferrara received a quick reaction force that he employed to occupy fighting positions in the event of another enemy attack. He continued to conduct fire missions, call CAS and CCA onto the enemy as they retreated to the south and south east towards the village of Aranas. First Lieutenant Ferrara's precise assessment of the situation and rapid decision to employ danger close CAS and mortar fire stopped the enemy from overrunning the Ranch House outpost. His calm demeanor under fire and effective reporting allowed his higher command to push assets to him which he quickly employed to destroy the enemy. This action yielded invaluable intelligence with the death of MVT Hazrat Omar and at least 10 of his fighters, as well as enemy video tapes of attack plans, pictures of insurgents, and payroll documents utilized by insurgent commanders.

Action Date: August 22, 2007

tl;dr for non-specialists? : )

Wow. He was so brave! Calm under fire.

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