By Debbie Gregory.
The Air Force has selected Tech. Sgt. Matthew J Greiner and Senior Airman Goodie Goodman, both of Fort Bragg, as recipients of the Silver Star for their valor and heroic actions during a 48 hour battle in Afghanistan’s Helmand River Valley. The Silver Star is the third highest medal a military service member can receive, below the Air Force Cross and Medal of Honor.
Both airmen are combat controllers with the 21st Special Tactics Squadron, an elite Air Force special operations unit based at Pope Field, and are credited with helping to save and protect the lives of 38 troops, including 14 U.S. special operators and 24 Afghan commandos.
Working alongside a Special Forces detachment and Afghan commandos, Greiner and Goodman assaulted a hostile bazaar via helicopter, seeking to disrupt insurgent operations. As the battle dragged on and the troops were low on ammo, more than 100 insurgents surged in an attempt to capture the Special Forces team. The airmen exposed themselves to heavy fire to call in precision strikes, controlling 70 air assets during the 48-hour fight, allowing the team to resupply and stop the insurgent advance.
The valor awards for the 21st Special Tactics Squadron and Greiner will help solidify the squadron as being the most decorated unit of its size in the Air Force since Vietnam.
This isn’t the only award Greiner will be receiving, however. On top of his Silver Star, Greiner will be awarded the Bronze Star medal with valor before his Silver Star, and after his Silver Star, will be honored as the Air Force’s national Non Commissioned Officer Association Vanguard Award recipient.
Just one week prior to the battle that earned him the nation’s third-highest award, Greiner preformed his duties as a combat controller despite grievous injuries to his head and body. A medic pulled him to cover and began to provide aid while requesting a medical evacuation helicopter. Greiner, with a radio and map in one hand and a fentanyl lollipop for pain relief in the other, called in airstrikes — controlling multiple aircraft for 38 minutes to push the insurgents back and protect his own medevac. Greiner was placed in a Kandahar hospital, and just five days after his release, he joined Goodman and their Special Forces team for their epic two-day battle.
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Military Connection: Fort Bragg Airmen to Receive Silver Stars: By Debbie Gregory