Three American defense contractors — all retired Army soldiers —have received the Pentagon's highest civilian valor award for their respective roles in repelling two separate insurgent attacks on coalition forces in Afghanistan, the Department of Defense announced last week.
Retired Army Master Sgt. William Timothy Nix, retired Army Chief Warrant Officer Michael Anthony Dunne, and retired Army Chief Warrant Officer Brandon Ray Seabolt were honored with the Medal of Valor on August 14 for "exceptional gallantry in action against an armed enemy," according to a DoD release.
On Aug. 7, 2015, Nix and Dunne were supporting NATO Special Operations Component Command Afghanistan on Camp Integrity near Kabul when a vehicle-borne IED struck the base entrance, heralding the arrival of insurgents armed with hand grenades and suicide vests.
“[The insurgents] blew the whole front of the camp. The gate came off. It collapsed the guard tower out there,” Dunne later recalled.
Following the explosion, Dunne and Nix rushed to support U.S. military personnel battling insurgents who'd breached the perimeter. "I just grabbed a weapon and ran out," Nix said at the award ceremony.
The citation praises the duo's "heroism for exposing themselves to direct enemy fire, hand grenades, suicide vests, and other explosives to suppress insurgents who had breached the camp," according to the DoD release.
Seabolt, a counter-IED expert with the Joint Improvised Threat Defeat Agency, earned his Medal of Valor for his actions during an attack near Helmand on December 17, 2015. His citation states that he "single-handedly fended off the insurgent onslaught until the return of other team members," according to the DoD release.
“Mr. Seabolt’s bravery and confidence instilled courage among the entire force, resulting in effective fires on the target, softening the objective and allowing the recovery force to approach with little resistance," the citation says.
We salute Nix, Dunne, and Seabolt for their courage under fire. And let this be a reminder: not all heroes wear name tapes.
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