By Debbie Gregory.
On November 15, 2004, 23-year-old Cpl. Eubaldo Lovato led a courageous firefight with the enemy in Iraq to recover the body of a fallen Marine, for which he has been awarded a Silver Star.
Lance Cpl. Travis Desiato had been shot and killed, his body taken by enemy fighters. Alive, wounded or dead, a Marine is never left behind on the battlefield.
Lovato assembled a team of non-commissioned officers to link up with the squad leader of the fallen Marine. Even with the use of tanks and rockets shot into the room through the window, the team was unsuccessful in their efforts to retrieve the newly-married Desiato.
On their third attempt, the team, led by Lovato, entered the room with grenades and small arms and successfully recovered the body of Desiato.
For his heroic actions, in November 2004, Lovato was awarded the Bronze Star.
In 2016, the Department of Defense Valor Award Review Board looked over 464 valor awards that were given since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“They compared the valor award to those given in the Vietnam and Korean War era, looking for inconsistencies,” said Brig. Gen. Michael Martin. “Lovato was one of 33 service members that was found to be under-awarded.”
For that reason, his Bronze Star was upgraded to a Silver Star.
“To be completely honest, I don’t deserve this,” Lovato said. “I didn’t do anything different than what I was trained to do. But I appreciate it and I am going to wear it proudly because the person who does deserve this wasn’t able to make it home. He was a 19-year-old kid from Massachusetts who had just gotten married. I am going to wear this Silver Star for him. He is the one that made the ultimate sacrifice.”
Lovato now works in Colorado as a Health and Wellness Coach.
“To me, anything is accomplishable,” said Lovato. “You may fail at it a thousand times, but who cares about failing? The accomplishment is worth more than that.”
By Debbie Gregory.
Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician 1st Class Jeffrey Thomas has received the Silver Star for his actions during a deadly 10-hour firefight with Islamic State militants that helped his fellow sailors navigate a minefield.
On September 20, 2017, Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Bill Moran recognized Thomas for his conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy, in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
“Today we recognize the heroic actions of individuals and the legacy of their teammates. This recognition is well deserved, and it’s an acknowledgment of bravery, training, and dedication to team and country,” said Moran.
On Oct. 20, 2016, while conducting combined clearance operations, Petty Officer 1st Class Jeffrey Thomas exited his vehicle as bullets, rockets and mortar rounds targeted his unit. Thomas swept the area for explosives just after a roadside bomb struck another vehicle, mortally wounding a sailor. His actions allowed medics to get through the minefield and reach injured sailors to provide critical care.
“No one who was present on the 20th of October knew better than Jeff the dangers he was facing,” said Navy Cmdr. Geoff Townsend, the commander of Thomas’ unit. “After the EOD supervisor, a friend and mentor, was mortally wounded, Jeff knowingly exposed himself to hazards in order to protect the lives of his teammates and brothers in arms, and secure a [medical evacuation] for his wounded teammate. His actions that day saved the lives of his teammates and exceeded all measures of selflessness and devotion to his country.”
While the Navy declined to identify the sailor who died in the attack, the Pentagon previously announced Navy Chief Petty Officer Jason Finan, 34, was killed in action by an IED in Iraq on the same date, and Finan was an EOD technician assigned to the same unit as Thomas.
Also honored were Lt. Morgan Dahl, who received the Bronze Star with “V” for valor, and Senior Chief Petty Officer Jon Hamm who was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with combat “C.”
By Debbie Gregory.
It took almost 48 years, but Vietnam veteran Edward Dvorak has now been awarded the military’s Silver Star for valor after braving enemy fire to save his fellow soldiers.
“It’s like a check-off on the internal moral clock that says I did the right thing, that I served honorably,” said the 68-year-old Lakebay, Washington man after he was presented with the medal
On Nov. 29, 1968, while a member of F Company, 51st Infantry Regiment, Dvorak’s team was hit by two rocket-propelled grenades during a mission near the military base at Bien Hoa.
Despite taking shrapnel to his left shoulder and chest (some of which is still there), the 19-year-old Dvorak grabbed an M60 and “provided immediate effective and suppressive machine gun fire to protect the seriously wounded LRPs while still exposing himself to automatic weapons fire,” according to his Silver Star citation.
Dvorak continued engaging enemy fighters while still under enemy fire, refusing medical aid, and he was able to direct fire support from Army attack helicopters that eventually would lead the enemy to break off contact.
Dvorak said he had to sit down when he got the letter notifying him of the honor. The Silver Star, awarded for gallantry in action, is the country’s third-highest military combat decoration.
Dvorak, who continued to serve with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department after his time in the Army, said he was humbled by the award. He humbly stated that he was accepting the award “one-twelfth for me, eleven-twelfths for the rest of the team.”
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.
Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard,Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.
Military Connection: Fort Bragg Airmen to Receive Silver Stars: By Debbie Gregory
By Debbie Gregory.
The Silver Star is the third-highest military combat decoration that can be awarded to a member of the United States Armed Forces, and is awarded for gallantry in action. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Kevin D. Baskin was gallant and brave, and is now being awarded the Silver Star.
In 2013 during a deployment, Baskin and his team came under fire in Kushe village. The special amphibious reconnaissance corpsman, assigned to 3rd Marine Special Operations Battalion, saved the life of four members of his team by running through enemy fire to stabilize and evacuate his wounded team members. This act of heroism and bravery was performed in spite of Baskin being shot in the back.
Baskin’s award citation reads, “Although wounded, he continued treating casualties while refusing medical treatment for his own injuries. Under intense fire, while simultaneously directing the evacuation of the wounded Marines, partner forces and himself, he laid down suppressive fire until every team member had evacuated the kill zone. His actions ultimately saved the lives of four of his teammates.”
After recruit training in Great Lakes, Illinois at the Navy’s Recruit Training Command, Baskin attended medical training at Field Medical Training Battalion West at Camp Pendleton, California. Baskin said he knew he wanted to serve with the Marines, and was soon selected for the special amphibious reconnaissance corpsman-training program.
His first deployment to Afghanistan came after Baskin was assigned to the 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion. The tour only lasted five months, due to a fragmentation from a rocket-propelled grenade that pierced Baskin. He was medically evacuated to the U.S. Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, where he spent eight months working and healing from his wounds.
Baskin’s desire to get back into battle took him from Maryland to a six month long Amphibious Reconnaissance Independent Duty Corpsman course, and back to Afghanistan with the 2nd MSOB.
On April 25,2013, at one of their checkpoints, the team started taking fire from two separate groups had been closing in on them. The rate of fire increased, leaving the team pinned down behind a cemetery wall. One teammate ran to them with a 60mm Mortar and started firing down the range. The brave teammate ran to another wall 50 meters in front of his team when he had no ammunition left. He was shot when he tried to suppress the enemy. Baskin ran to his teammate and provided the aid needed to save his life, even after he, too, was shot.
Major Gen. Joseph L. Osterman, commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command, presented Baskin with the medal, praising his character: “[Baskin] went forward without thought of himself, to the point of protecting his fellow Marines with his own body. From a personal perspective, I appreciate who he is as a man, from how he takes care of his family to the quiet professional that he epitomizes.”
Baskin accepted the award, saying he was proud but he felt like he was, “just doing my job … what anyone else on the team would have done if put into the situation. It’s a very surreal feeling.”
We are proud to honor servicemen like Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Kevin D. Baskin here at MilitaryConnection.com and would like to thank Petty Officer Baskin for his service and commitment.
Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.
Military Connection: Corpsman to Receive Silver Star: By Debbie Gregory