CITATION TO ACCOMPANY THE AWARD OF THE SILVER STAR
Awarded for actions during the Global War on Terror
Operation Enduring Freedom - South and Central Asia - Afghanistan
DOUGLAS J. MATTHEWS
Action Date: November 27, 2012
Air Force Technical Sergeant
125th Special Tactics Squadron
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by an act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Technical Sergeant Douglas J. Matthews, United States Air Force, for gallantry in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United States near Jalrez, Wardak Province, Afghanistan on 27 November 2012.
On that date, Sergeant Matthews displayed extraordinary bravery, technical skill, and a complete disregard for his own safety when his vehicle struck a command detonated improvised explosive device, immediately ejecting him from the 15 ton vehicle, and triggering a complex ambush. Sustaining head injuries and multiple lacerations from the blast, Sergeant Matthews immediately came to his feet and faced torrents of fire from 12 different enemy fighting positions, some as close as 30 meters to the beleaguered convoy.
Though seriously wounded, Sergeant Matthews returned fire and immediately maneuvered back to his overturned vehicle to aid his wounded teammates. While under direct and accurate enemy fire, Sergeant Matthews discovered his team leader ejected from the vehicle and incapacitated from a traumatically amputated lower extremity. Sergeant Matthews moved the wounded Soldier to safety along an embankment while still exchanging fire with enemy forces, as secondary explosions from ammunition in the burning vehicle added to the chaotic scene on the narrow road.
As his Special Forces Team regrouped, Sergeant Matthews furiously coordinated close air support and a medical evacuation for his grievously injured teammates. Sergeant Matthews remained in exposed positions, despite increasing volumes of enemy fire striking all around his position, and accurately directed strafing runs to hold the attacking insurgent forces at bay. As medical evacuation helicopters arrived, Sergeant Matthews refused to be evacuated with the other occupants of the now burning vehicle, and remained on scene to direct a withering barrage of close air support that eventually broke the back of the enemy attack. Sergeant Matthews continued to engage with multiple air platforms until a quick reaction force arrived, allowing his team to break contact and return to their base.
His heroism under fire while directing close air support allowed friendly forces to recover all personnel with no loss of life and maneuver out of the ambush's kill zone. Sergeant Matthews actions undoubtedly saved the lives of his wounded teammates and an Afghan interpreter.
By his gallantry and devotion to duty Sergeant Matthews has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.