Monday, August 1, 2011

The Story as Told by LT Michael Sidman

I received this narrative from LT Sidman.  The first time I read it, it made me cry.  I still tear up every time I read of my son's heroism.  It doesn't surprise me in the least.

On the first day of the operation, 3rd Platoon was tasked with destroying the insurgent cell operating just outside the village of Popalzai, IVO QQ 3495 9696 “OBJ Theralite,” in order to prevent the Taliban from expanding their engagement areas from the Pashmul seam to Highway 1 and the local populace. 3rd Platoon stepped off on order and approached OBJ Theralite with two different elements. The support element approached from the north in order to establish a support-by-fire position while the assault element approached from the east. At approximately 1150, one of the dismounts in the support element struck a pressure-plate improvised explosive device (PPIED) and sustained one Cat A US casualty and one ANA casualty. The assault element that PFC McConnell was a part of immediately moved to the site where the casualties were sustained in order to assist with securing the area. Upon reaching the site, PFC McConnell fearlessly, and without regard for his personal safety, moved over un-cleared ground riddled with four more PPIEDs to pull over-watch in order to ensure the casualties could be treated securely. At 1205, while the casualties were still being treated, another PPIED was stepped on in the immediate vicinity of PFC McConnell’s security position. Although, no casualties were taken due to a misfire in the blasting cap, PFC McConnell never flinched from his position, demonstrating unwavering courage in order to ensure the site was secured during the landing of the MEDEVAC helicopter. After the MEDEVAC took the first two casualties away, 3rd Platoon’s attached Sapper element conducted site exploitation to discover three additional PPIEDs, confirming that PFC McConnell’s security position was essentially a small minefield.

Despite the clear and present IED danger, PFC McConnell selflessly volunteered to lead the entire element with the point-man during 3rd Platoon’s EXFIL to COP Makuan. At 1320, PFC McConnell stepped on a PPIED approximately 200 meters north of the first site. While the dust was still clearing, the platoon leader took the M240L machine gun team and ran to his position to help the lead squad leader secure the area. The platoon leader immediately yelled to PFC McConnell to check for his level of consciousness and any injuries sustained. After regaining full consciousness, he replied stating that the blast just had knocked him down and insisted that he was able to continue the mission. As his squad leader and team leader were clearing the immediate area for additional PPIEDs, PFC McConnell fearlessly moved to a better vantage point to secure the area. Unfortunately at 1330, PFC McConnell stepped on a second PPIED only three feet from the first and was rendered a CAT A casualty, double amputee, immediately.

On 23 July 2011, PFC McConnell went above and beyond the call of duty. His valorous actions that morning led to the secured MEDEVAC of his wounded comrades during the first IED engagement. He then suffered life-threatening injuries after striking two PPIEDs himself. His personal sacrifice, and complete disregard for his own safety, ensured the security of his fellow soldiers throughout 3rd Platoon’s operation. PFC McConnell’s actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflect distinct credit upon himself, 3rd Platoon (Wolverines), Bravo Company (Blackhawks), 2-87th Infantry Regiment (Catamounts), 3rd Brigade Combat Team (Spartans), and the United States Army.

No comments:

Post a Comment