Military Connection: Soldier’s Medal Awarded to Six Guard Members

Soldiers Medal

On June 8, 2013, six members from Delta Company 1-110th Infantry were conducting training in Fort Pickett, Virginia. Following Tropical Storm Andrea, which made landfall along the Florida coast and moved north in the previous days, the soldiers were tasked with checking routes to assess whether or not they had been effected by the storm.

The soldiers observed a vehicle parked along the side of one road, with its doors open. When they stopped to investigate, they heard cries for help, which led them to ten members of the Virginia Army National Guard who were stranded in a river, standing on top of a vehicle and trailer.

Heavy rains from the storm created fast moving currents to form in the streams and rivers, causing the stranded soldiers to misjudge the depth of the water when they attempted to cross it.

At great risk of personal injury to themselves, the six Delta Company soldiers rescued the National Guard soldiers. On January 10, 2015, the six, 2nd Lt. Ryan Norris, Sgt. 1st Class Sean Cartright, Sgt. Jon Dunham, Sgt. Paul Johnson, Spc. Sean Capets, and Spc. John Kerr were awarded the rare Soldier’s Medal.

Initially, Lt. Norris and Sgt. Dunham jumped into the water and helped pull soldiers from the river. The other four used cargo straps from their vehicle and formed a human chain to rescue the remaining soldiers. At one point during the rescue, the straps were washed away by the fast moving current. So the soldiers improvised and used their belts and uniform shirts to help get the rest of their stranded comrades out of the river.

The Soldier’s Medal, which in precedence is located between the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Bronze Star Medal, is the highest non-combat medal awarded to members of the Army.

According to Army Regulation 600-8-22: “The Soldier’s Medal, 10 USC 3750 is awarded to any person of the Armed Forces of the United States or of a friendly foreign nation who, while serving in any capacity with the Army of the United States, including reserve component Soldiers not serving in a duty status, as defined in 10 USC 101(d), at the time of the heroic act, who distinguished himself or herself by heroism not involving actual conflict with an enemy. The same degree of heroism is required as that of the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross. The performance must have involved personal hazard or danger and the voluntary risk of life under conditions not involving conflict with an armed enemy. Awards will not be made solely on the basis of having saved a life.”

Last week, five of the awardees were presented their medals by adjutant general of the Pennsylvania National Guard, Maj. Gen. Wesley Craig, at a medal pinning ceremony at the Masonic Lodge in Hempfield, Pennsylvania. Second Lt. Norris was unable to attend the ceremony. would like to congratulate the members of Delta Company 1-110th Infantry for their honorable and heroic actions. Job Well Done!

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Military Connection: Soldier’s Medal Awarded to Six Guard Members: By Debbie Gregory