While conducting a civil reconnaissance patrol the afternoon of Nov. 1, 2012, Civil Affairs Team 611 started on what was a routine mission, but in a matter of a few minutes, the mission turned into anything but routine.
The patrol came under small arms and automatic weapons fire in an ambush east of the village of Sardar Kala, Afghanistan.
The trail man in the element carried the heavy weapon system, but was critically wounded when a bullet from the initial ambush struck him in the back and he went down.
Seeing this, Staff Sgt. Michael P. Pate, the medical sergeant on the team, immediately realized the necessity to neutralize the enemy threat and render aid to his wounded teammate.
Pate ran more than 50 meters back toward the enemy’s fighting positions to provide aid. He and his team leader, Capt. Jacob A. Allen, ran through heavy enemy fire, and dragged the wounded warrior more than 25 meters to the only cover available in the form of a 6-inch retaining berm, and continued to return fire on the enemy position.
For his actions, Pate was awarded the Silver Star by Lt. Gen. Charles T. Cleveland, commanding general, United States Army Special Operations Command, at a Valor Awards ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Auditorium, Jan. 23.
Pate was one of seven Soldiers from Co. A, 96th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne), recognized for valorous actions spanning four battles against the enemy while deployed to Afghanistan in 2012.
Allen received the Bronze Star Medal with “V” device for his actions during the fire fight on Nov. 1, 2012.
Sgt. 1st Class Kevin L. Hargove and Sgt. 1st Class Kevin W. Oakes received the Army Commendation Medal with “V” device for their actions during the same mission with Pate and Allen.
“In the face of danger, the common person would seek cover and protect themselves,” said Lt. Col. Basil J. Catanzaro, commander, 96th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne). “Staff Sergeant Pate and the other team members are not common, they are trained Soldiers and duty bound to take care of each other.”
Also recognized during the ceremony was Staff Sgt. Philp A. Aubrey who was awarded the Bronze Star for his actions during a combat reconnaissance patrol on Nov. 5, 2012. While under enemy fire, Aubrey, the lead medic of his team, performed triage on a critically wounded casualty until safely aboard a MEDEVAC helicopter.
First Sgt. Jamie T. Mullinax received the Army Commendation Medal with “V” device for his actions on Sept. 27, 2012. While conducting village stability operations at a remote operating base, Mullinax displayed impressive courage and tactical tenacity while responding to a highly organized enemy automatic weapons, rocket, and mortar base attack from seven elevated fighting positions.
Sgt. 1st Class Donovan S. Johnson received the Army Commendation Medal with “V” device for his actions on April 26, 2012.
Johnson and his CA team executed a daylight combat reconnaissance patrol in highly contested battle space. Johnson selflessly exposed himself to the enemy at least a half dozen times while providing protection to the patrol’s tactical communicator and ground force commander.
“The country will call on civil affairs and the other ARSOF brothers and sisters,” said Cleveland. “The actions we honor today declare to everyone, that you are equal to the challenge. Don’t look back, seize the future and make it yours. Be proud of who you are, what you do and who you do it with, for you are without equal.”