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
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by an act of July 25, 1963), awards the Silver Star to Technical Sergeant Matthew McKenna, United States Air Force, for gallantry while serving with the 22d Special Tactics Squadron in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, on 12 September 2003.
The full citation is needed to complete this post.
Adapted from the Stars and Stripes
by Olson Wyatt
Tsgt Matthew McKenna, 22nd Special Tactics Squadron was awarded the Silver Star and Bronze Star on Monday at Joint Base Lewis-McChord for directing air and ground strikes while he was behind enemy lines in Afghanistan. Tech. Sgt. Matthew McKenna, a combat controller, received the Silver Star, the nation’s third-highest combat military decoration, for his actions during a 13-hour firefight in Afghanistan in 2013.
McKenna and his team found themselves outnumbered with the enemy closing in on their position from higher ground, according to an Air Force statement. McKenna coordinated airstrikes on 10 insurgents, preventing them from completing an ambush of his team. At one point, he discovered his team was running out of ammunition and coordinated an aerial resupply at two locations placing desperately needed munitions within 50 feet of the endangered service members.
Despite pleas from his teammates to take cover, McKenna rushed into the 'kill zone', exposing himself to heavy fire in order to control airstrikes that were within about 600 yards of him.
The airstrikes gave the team a chance to move up the mountain for an emergency pickup. On several occasions, with no regard for his personal safety, Sgt. McKenna moved from cover, exposing himself to withering machine gun and rocket-propelled grenade fire to locate friendly elements trapped by enemy fire.
His actions secured the survival of his team against a challenging enemy, allowing them to beat back three counter-attacks contributing to 103 enemies killed in action before withdrawing to safety.
McKenna was also awarded the Bronze Star for actions throughout the entire deployment to Afghanistan, during which he controlled 431 aircraft during 23 ground combat operations, which led to the capture of 26 enemy insurgents and 67 enemy fighters killed in action.
McKenna was the fourth member of the 22nd STS to receive the Silver Star for operations conducted in Iraq and Afghanistan.