19th Special Forces Group Green Beret Awarded The Silver Star





Staff Sergeant Michael D. Sargent, United States Army, heroically distinguished himself in the face of the enemies of the United States of America with exceptionally valorous conduct as the Forces Engineer Sergeant for Special Forces Operational Detachment-Alpha 9114, Advanced Operations Base-South, Special Operations Task-Afghanistan, on 17 December 2015 during Operation FREEDOM’S SENTINEL in support of RESOLUTE SUPPORT Mission. During the early hours of 17 December 2015, SSG Sargent heroically distinguished himself as an assault team leader during a clearing operation in Khan Neshin Valley, Reg-e Khan District, Helmand Province, Afghanistan. The Commandos belonging to the element that SSG Sargent accompanied as a mentor entered a courtyard adjacent to their objective and were involved in a brief firefight resulting in two casualties. The Commandos’ reports were unclear as to whether their comrades were deceased or wounded but informed the mentors that the area was cleared. SSG Sargent entered the courtyard as part of a four-man element to assist with the recovery of the Commandos believing that the area was secure. After locating the two Commandos and verifying that they were deceased, the element came under intense automatic weapons fire at very close range from firing positions in a structure adjacent to the courtyard. During the initial burst, two team members received gunshot wounds to their upper extremities and immediately exited the courtyard, leaving SSG Sargent and another team member alone in the courtyard.   With total disregard for his safety, SSG Sargent moved to the casualty closest to his position, retrieved the body and dragged the deceased soldier out of the courtyard under a hail of gunfire. Upon exiting the courtyard to relative safety, SSG Sargent returned into the courtyard without hesitation and recovered the second body and aided the remaining teammate still under fire. The structure containing the firing positions began to burn, resulting in large secondary explosions. Again with total disregard for his safety, SSG Sargent moved through intense enemy fire and secondary explosions and employed two hand grenades into the fighting position to cover the withdrawal of his team members. The insurgents attempted to assault out of the fighting positions and SSG Sargent and his remaining teammate dispatched five enemy combatants. Once the intense firefight had subsided, SSG Sargent reestablished communications with the detachment leadership. SSG Sargent’s actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflect distinct credit upon himself, the Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan, the NATO Special Operations Component Command-Afghanistan/Special Operations Joint Task Force-Afghanistan, and the United States Army.