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An Army Special Forces soldier who lost most of his family to the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia has been awarded the Silver Star for heroism yesterday for saving his men during a firefight in Afghanistan.Capt Furat, Iraqi Army:
But despite attempts by his superiors and fellow soldiers to tag him as a hero at a Camp Smith ceremony yesterday, Master Sgt. Suran Sar expressed concerns about receiving the medal for only doing his job, and praised a fellow soldier who was also an immigrant to America and was killed doing his job.
"I feel kind of shame to receive this prestigious award. All I was doing was something I love to do ... it's fighting and serving my country," said Sar, who feels he found a "second home" in the Army's elite Special Forces unit after losing everyone but a sister during the bloody reign of Pol Pott.
"It was early in the morning, around 7 or 8," Sar said, talking about the March 2 firefight. "It was cold and there was fog."
On that day, he led a Special Forces Team of 12 soldiers to inspect a mountainous area 9,000 feet above sea level, in the province of Pakika near the Pakistani border.
There was still snow on the ground when the first UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter carrying six of Alpha Team members touched down on a north ridge.
Soldiers from that helicopter were immediately pinned down by enemy fire, Sar said. His UH-60 carrying another six soldiers landed on the south side.
"There were bullets whizzing overhead," Sar recalled, as his soldiers jumped off the Black Hawk. He said he started firing, killing one rebel.
"One gave up, another dropped his weapon," Sar said, "and another ran into a bunker."
With four of his other team members pinned down by enemy fire in the snow behind him, Sar and his medic decided to pursue the fleeing insurgent.
As he tried to enter a building, an Afghan rebel fired three rounds at Sar from as close as six feet.
"Two of the bullets missed me," Sar said. The third bullet hit his helmet on the right side and barely grazed his forehead. Sar returned fire, killing the Afghan rebel.
Capt. Furat loved a soldier's life. A powerfully built man who once boasted that blood from an earlier battle still stained the knife that hung from his belt, he had begun to gain superhero status among the men he led and the Americans soldiers with whom he fought.Spc. Bryan Anderson, US Army:
Over time, the battles with insurgents became more frequent. Attacks came in spurts, sometimes two or three in a single week.
When such attacks came, Capt. Furat was typically first out of his truck, returning fire, shouting orders, attending to the wounded.
His men, their resolve stiffened by his example, stood their ground in combat time and time again. More often then not, they would drive off the attackers before U.S. forces arrived to support them.
The Tiger Battalion is just one unit of several hundred men, a small part of a larger effort in which hundreds of thousands of Iraqis risk their lives daily by working with the Americans.
But during a recent two-month period in which I served as an embedded photojournalist with his unit, I witnessed something utterly different from earlier accounts of Iraqis cowering in battle.
Army Spec. Bryan Anderson never saw the roadside bomb waiting for his Humvee in Baghdad. Hidden within a concrete curb, it detonated just as his vehicle passed, shredding the soldier's legs and left arm with shrapnel.
"I was conscious the whole time," said Anderson, of Rolling Meadows. "I called out, `I need help!'"
On that October day, Anderson, 24, became the fourth American serviceman to lose three limbs in the Iraq war. Two months later--and just in time for the holidays--he is out of the hospital and vigorously has begun the physical therapy that could have him walking again soon on artificial legs.
He is showing the spunk he learned as a Rolling Meadows High School gymnast, amazing his relatives, friends and caregivers with his grit and determination.
"Everybody keeps telling me that I'm doing excellent and I'm ahead of the game," Anderson said from Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where he is an outpatient. "I do believe it's attitude. You've got to look at it and say, `OK, it's happened. What do I have to do to get better?' And have the will power to do that."
Anderson's right hand, on his only remaining limb, was mangled in the blast.
He also had abdominal injuries and a collapsed lung.
Soon, he will receive a pair of microprocessor-controlled C-Legs, which will help him walk more naturally.
Anderson also will have several prosthetic hands to choose from, including a hooklike one made for grasping, a realistic-looking cosmetic hand, and one that can be used for swimming.
"There isn't a lot he won't be able to do, but he will have to adapt to new ways of doing things," said Paul Schillaci, a physician's assistant who guides Anderson's physical therapy.
"He'll have to put extra effort into everything he does."
That's not likely to be a problem, Anderson said.
And the other side:
Hanan, a 22-year-old Iraqi translator, defied terrorist threats to work in the U.S.-controlled Baghdad area know as the green zone. She ignored the threats. Then she disappeared.From the Boston Globe:
A few days later, a video was sent to her family showing the terrified woman seconds before her death. She lay on her back and screamed as a sharp knife slit her throat and then cut off her head.
BAGHDAD -- More than 7,000 Iraqis, most of them civilians, were killed in violence in 2005, the first year that Iraqi officials have kept such records, an Interior Ministry official said yesterday.From the New York Times:
The year 2005 saw 2,880 terrorist attacks target Iraqi security forces and civilians, Major Abdul Aziz al-Mousawi said. About 1,225 policemen and 475 soldiers were killed, along with 4,021 civilians and 1,709 insurgents, he said. Overall, 7,430 Iraqis were killed, according to the figures.
KABUL, Afghanistan, Jan. 4 - Suspected Taliban insurgents dragged a high school teacher from his house on Tuesday night and beheaded him, the latest killing in southern Afghanistan in what seems to be a campaign against educated community leaders, Afghan officials said Wednesday.Choose sides.
The headless body of Abdul Habib, a teacher at one of the two high schools in Zabul Province, the Sheik Mathi Baba School, was found Wednesday morning.
Gunmen broke into his house near the provincial capital, Qalat, and killed him late Tuesday night, said a spokesman for the provincial governor, Gulab Shah Alikhel. "It was the work of Afghanistan's enemies," he said, the term officials use for Taliban insurgents and other Islamic militants.
We can be cowards and fail to choose. We can be charlatans and obstruct the clear view of our enemy. We can be lazy and ignore the evidence.
Or we can be Men and Women and make our choice known to all. Hanan made her choice. She died because of it. I choose her side. I choose to die with her when the evil hand of Terror comes to my door.
And I choose to take Terror with me to Hell where I have a place in the hottest fire for it.
SubsunkPosted by Subsunk at January 5, 2006 11:04 PM
I'm on our side! I tried to trackback to this post but seemed to have failed.Posted by Sgt Hook at January 6, 2006 03:07 AM
I picked my side years ago, when I freely swore to "support and defend".
In 7 years of service, I didn't see a day of combat. But I am proud that our President has taken the fight to Afganistan and Iraq.
I am extremely proud of the way our troops have conducted themselves in this war.
I am sickened by the way that the Main Stream Media has covered this war. The NYT, WaPo, ABC, NBC, CBS, AP, Reuters, BBC and even Fox - All seem to be supporting the terrorists. They seem to love the bloodshed and carnage.
To the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines -
The Choice is easy. I simply look across the dining room table and see my 3 children and beautiful wife and know that whatever threatens them will have to go through me.
My wife has repeatedly stated that after 9/11 I lost a lot of my fun side and its true. I wish I could get it back but the war we fight is serious and only one of us is going to walk away. Everytime I seem to get lighthearted one of those bastards murders some poor school teacher or 3 little girls and it all comes rushing back in to remind me. Screw them into hell forever for taking the lightheartedness out of life.
Pierre LegrandPosted by Pierre Legrand at January 6, 2006 05:38 AM
And each time I see a soldiers face in pain like Brad Kasal or a family mourn I feel a debt that causes me to reflect soberly on the sacrifices being made on our countries behalf by young men who should be out chasing women instead of thug murderers the NYT's calls freedom fighters.
Thank you to all of those who stand watch on the edges of civilization guarding our way of life.
Keep the faith, we have faith in you.
PierrePosted by Pierre Legrand at January 6, 2006 05:41 AM
You're probably preaching to the choir here, G... but I choose. I choose Victory. I choose Freedom. I choose THIS side.Posted by You Must Be Kidding at January 6, 2006 07:38 PM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(6) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)