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President Donald Trump will upgrade Green Beret Master Sergeant Matthew O. Williams' Silver Star to the Medal of Honor for his bravery in Afghanistan, officials announced on Thursday.
Williams was serving with Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha 3336 on April 6, 2008, when he braved enemy fire to save the lives of four critically-wounded soldiers and prevent the lead element of his assault force from being overrun by the enemy, a White House news release says.
One special ops deployment resulted in 21 Purple Hearts, 7 Bronze Stars, and 5 Silver Stars for combat heroism
It has been a deadly year for Green Berets, with every active-duty Special Forces Group losing a valued soldier in Afghanistan or Syria.
A total of 13 members of the Army special operations forces community have died in 2019, according to U.S. Army Special Operations Command. All but one of those soldiers were killed in combat.
In Afghanistan, Army special operators account for 11 of the 17 U.S. troops killed so far this year. Eight of the fallen were Green Berets. Of the other three soldiers, two worked with the 10th Special Forces Group and the other was a Ranger.
The Special Forces community is honoring the life of Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy W. Griffin, who was killed in Afghanistan on Monday, whom his commander described as a superlative soldier and beloved teammate.
"He was a warrior - an accomplished, respected and loved Special Forces soldier that will never be forgotten," Col. Owen G. Ray, commander of 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), said in a news release. "We ask that you keep his family and teammates in your thoughts and prayers."
The SCAR rifle is loved by special ops. But it's still not going to replace the M4 for everyone.
Richard Plummer was a 24-year-old soldier training on a forested mountain slope between Randle and Packwood on May 18, 1980.
He hadn't heard much, if anything, about the volcanic activity at Mount St. Helens about 30 miles to the southwest. So when he saw a storm of ash rolling toward his Green Beret campsite that morning, he didn't quite know what to make of it.
But the next 24 hours of his life would be defined by surviving and escaping the aftermath of the most disastrous volcanic eruption in U.S. history.
Plummer and 45 other Green Berets, plus another 64 Army Ranger trainees, were just miles from Packwood when the volcano erupted that morning, directly killing 57 people and ejecting hundreds of million of tons of ash in their direction.
Those soldiers' story, as far as Plummer is aware, has never been published, although he's mentioned it to friends and family. Plummer and his wife, Rebecca Holton, both 63, are now retired after decades-long careers in the intelligence community.
"From what we've seen and heard and read … this story has never been told," Holton said in a recent interview at their Vancouver home last week.