Skip to comments.Bronze star awarded for squelching enemy ambush
Posted on 12/02/2005 6:55:42 PM PST by SandRat
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (Dec. 2, 2005) -- If it wasnt for the selfless actions of Staff Sgt. Anthony B. Speich, ten Afghani troops and a Navy corpsman on the forward element of the Special Forces Operational Detachment, Company C., 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group, Combined-Joint Special operations Task Force Afghanistan, may have never been able to return home.
Speich, a 36-year-old from Rapids, Wis., was awarded the Bronze Star with V Device during a ceremony here Dec. 2 for his actions in Afghanistan on the day of April 24, 2005. While leading those 11 men, Speich spotted a team of more than 25 enemy fighters preparing a complex L-shaped ambush position and emplacing improvised explosive devices intended for coalition forces.
The enemy initiated a heavy barrage of direct fire from less than 200 meters away on Speichs patrol.
All I was thinking about at that point when rounds and (rocket-propelled grenades) were flying by my head was getting my guys out of dodge, recalled Speich. Speich, his corpsman, and the ten Afghani troops, engaged the numerically superior enemy forces without hesitation.
Speich led the attack through personal example, accurately engaging the enemy while repeatedly exposing himself to enemy fire in order to direct members of his element to maneuver out of the danger zone, according to the award citation.
Hoping to overrun and destroy the coalition patrol, the enemy increased their volume of fire and began to maneuver and flank his position, but Speich voluntarily remained in the enemy kill zone in order to engage the enemy with his rifle.
The tide of the fight quickly turned as the enemy position became suppressed under the fire of Speichs element.
Speich and his element engaged the enemy for 45 minutes, and after the intense firefight, Speich continued to lead the attack by effectively directing mortar fire on the remaining enemy positions, completely silencing the enemy, the citation said.
Hoping for complete destruction of the enemy, Speich then pursued the enemy for an additional four hours, traveling over four kilometers of rugged terrain covered with numerous enemy-fighting positions.
According to the citation, Speichs actions, professionalism and courage under intense enemy fire, according to the citation, were crucial to the successful execution of a combined, joint and interagency mission deep into an enemy-dominated border region that resulted in the death of five insurgents and the wounding of fifteen others.
The success of this mission significantly degraded the ability of enemy forces to coordinate anti-coalition and anti-government attacks in Bermel Valley, Pakita Province, Afghanistan, the citation said.
In addition to hurting the enemy, Speichs actions on April 24, 2005 saved the lives of numerous coalition soldiers.
We would have never made it out there without those Afghani (troops) and my corpsman, Speich said. Those Afghanis are great, theyre fearless.
I would be proud to change places with any of them but I'm just an aging cold warrior. I would probably do more harm than good.
Garde la Foi, mes amis! Nous nous sommes les sauveurs de la République! Maintenant et Toujours!
(Keep the Faith, my friends! We are the saviors of the Republic! Now and Forever!)
LonePalm, le Républicain du verre cassé (The Broken Glass Republican)
I'd be proud just to pull perpetual KP in support of them.
Well done Devildog!
Thanks for the great post. Another reason for us to be proud and grateful.
That's the spirit. Engage the bastids in combat and eradicate them.