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UNSUNG HEROES: The Green Beret Who Killed 4 Enemy Fighters, 1 With His Hands
In January 2002, less than four months after the official launch of Operation Enduring Freedom, before conventional forces were deployed beyond the confines of Kabul, the so-called Global War on Terror was almost exclusively waged by a small group of commandos in the remote mountains, deserts, and villages of Afghanistan.
Master Sgt. Anthony S. Pryor of Company A, 1st Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group was one of those commandos.
On Jan. 23, 2002, Pryor’s detachment received orders from U.S. Central Command to conduct a night raid on a suspected al-Qaeda compound in a remote area of southern Afghanistan.
Their mission was to take over an old school house while the enemy fighters slept. But almost as soon as they entered the compound, their position was compromised, and they found themselves under intense gunfire, some of it from less than 25 meters away.
“After the initial burst of automatic weapons fire, we returned fire in the breezeway,” Pryor’s teammate, Sgt. 1st Class Scott Neil, told an Army reporter. “It was a mental spur - after we heard the words ‘let’s go,’ everything just kind of kicked in.”
The commandos scattered in the confusion. Undeterred, Pryor and a teammate pushed forward under fire. As the two men turned to enter a room, an enemy fighter charged through the doorway. Pryor dropped the man and moved into the room alone while his teammate stopped to engage another man outside.
“I went in, and there were some windows that they were trying to get their guns out of to shoot at our guys that hadn’t caught up yet,” Pryor told an Army reporter. “So I went from left to right, indexed down and shot those guys up. I realized that I was well into halfway through my magazine, so I started to change magazines. Then I felt something behind me, and thought it was [one of my teammates] - that’s when things started going downhill.”
Something hard struck Pryor on the back, breaking his clavicle and dislocating his shoulder. He crumpled to the floor.
“[He] jumped on my back, broke my night-vision goggles off and started getting his fingers in my eyeballs,” Pryor recalled. “I pulled him over, and when I hit down on the ground, it popped my shoulder back in.”
Back on his feet, Pryor squared off with his attacker. Then, using only his hands, he killed him. But the fight wasn’t over yet.
“I was trying to feel around in the dark for my night-vision goggles, and that’s when the guys I’d already killed decided that they weren’t dead yet.”
Pryor raced to bring his rifle up while the two wounded men did the same. Moments later, Pryor emerged from the room, leaving four dead enemy soldiers in his wake.
“As soon as he left that room, he came running up to me and wanted to know if everybody was okay,” Neil recalled. “He never mentioned anything about what went on … and during the whole objective and as the firefight continued, he never stopped.”
By the time the dust settled, 21 enemy soldiers had been killed and all of the Americans were alive.
Several years later, in 2007, Pryor was awarded the Silver Star for his actions that night. During the ceremony, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey C. Lambert, commanding general of the U.S. Army Special Forces Command, said, “This is the singular hand-to-hand combat story that I have heard from this war. When it came time to play, he played, and he did it right.”
CAMP PENDLETON — The military prosecution of a Coast Guardsman accused of murder began Wednesday with a preliminary hearing at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.
Seaman Ethan W. Tucker, 21, was arrested August 28 after a seven-month Coast Guard investigation into the January death of Seaman Ethan Kelch, 19, who served on the same ship as Tucker— the Kodiak, Alaska-based high endurance cutter Douglas Munro.
ANKARA (Reuters) - President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday Turkey would press on with its offensive into northeastern Syria and "crush the heads of terrorists" if a deal with Washington on the withdrawal of Kurdish fighters from the area were not fully implemented.
Erdogan agreed on Thursday in talks with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence a five-day pause in the offensive to allow time for the Kurdish fighters to withdraw from a "safe zone" Turkey aims to establish in northeast Syria near the Turkish border.
President Trump stoked confusion Friday by declaring the U.S. has "secured the Oil" in the Middle East amid continued fallout from the Turkish invasion of northern Syria that he enabled by pulling American troops out of the region.
It wasn't immediately clear what the president was talking about, as there were no publicly known developments in Syria or elsewhere in the Middle East relating to oil. White House aides did not return requests for comment.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. State Department investigation of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state has found no evidence of deliberate mishandling of classified information by department employees.
The investigation, the results of which were released on Friday by Republican U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley's office, centered on whether Clinton, who served as the top U.S. diplomat from 2009 to 2013, jeopardized classified information by using a private email server rather than a government one.
BYESVILLE — A Meadowbrook High School student removed from class last Friday for being intoxicated is now facing a felony charge after allegedly threatening to shoot people if the previous incident harmed his chances to join a branch of the United States military.
Gabriel D. Blackledge, 18, of Cambridge, is facing one count of making terrorist threats, a third-degree felony, filed by the Guernsey County Sheriff's Office on Thursday. Blackledge remained incarcerated in the county jail on a $250,000 bond with no 10 percent allowed, according to the sheriff's office's website.