Editor’s note: Unsung Heroes is an effort by Task & Purpose to highlight the stories of bravery and heroism that make up the history of the U.S. military post-9/11.
Almost exactly 10 years ago, a sergeant first class was on a helicopter on a special forces mission over northeastern Afghanistan. His job? To engage the enemy from the air to provide cover for coalition ground forces.
The soldier, Stephan Johns, was in the last helicopter of the group. The aircraft was hit by enemy fire and was forced to briefly land in hostile territory.
But according to his Silver Star citation, Johns did not abandon his mission, he “jumped out to set up a one-man defensive wall between a group of enemy fighters and the main American assault group.”
Alone on the ground for more than 30 minutes, Johns was repeatedly rushed by al Qaeda and Taliban fighters. That enemy endeavor left nine insurgents dead at the hand of Johns’ rifle before Johns was picked up by another helicopter.
He received the Silver Star, the military’s third highest award for valor. Then-Vice President Dick Cheney presented him the award at a ceremony in 2005 at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, home of U.S. Special Operations Command.
On the unique skill of the military’s special operations community, Cheney said, “I see regular evidence of your unparalleled skill, your ingenuity and your daring. Every single day SOCOM confirms its reputation as a small command that produces big results for the United States of America.”
Do you know a story of remarkable courage or heroism from a member of the armed forces after 9/11? Hit us up at email@example.com and let us know.
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
Former President George W. Bush is calling for an end to the partial government shutdown, which is about to hit the one-month mark and is currently the longest shutdown in US history.
In an appeal made on Instagram, the 43rd president called on "leaders on both sides to put politics aside, come together, and end this shutdown." The caption was posted with an image of him and former First Lady Laura Bush giving pizza to their Secret Service detail.
Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested on Jan. 29, 2018. (Photo courtesy of Wilmington Police Department, North Carolina.)
A special operations Marine is due in court on March 7 after being arrested last year for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, Task & Purpose has learned.
Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested and charged with assault inflicting serious injury on July 29, 2018, according to Jennifer Dandron, a spokeswoman for police in Wilmington, North Carolina. Evans is currently assigned as a Critical Skills Operator with the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, according to the Marine Corps Personnel Locator.
U.S. Army 1st Lt. Elyse Ping Medvigy conducts a call-for-fire during an artillery shoot south of Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 22, 2014. Medvigy, a fire support officer assigned to the 4th Infantry Division's Company D, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, is the first female company fire support officer to serve in an infantry brigade combat team supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Whitney Houston (Photo by U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Whitney Houston)
Following Trump's inauguration, some supporters of ground combat integration assumed he would quickly move to reinstate a ban on women in jobs like the infantry. When this did not happen, advocates breathed a collective sigh of relief, and hundreds of qualified women charted a course in history by entering the newly opened occupational fields.
So earlier this week when the Wall Street Journal published an editorial against women in ground combat by conservative political commentator Heather Mac Donald, the inclination of many ground combat integration supporters was to dismiss it outright. But given Trump's proclivity to make knee jerk policy decisions in response to falling approval ratings and the court's tradition of deference to the military when it comes to policies affecting good order and discipline, it would be unwise to assume the 2016 lifting of the ban on women in ground combat is a done deal.