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Heroism Honored
A group of Green Berets were awarded the Silver Star in
December 2008 for beating overwhelming odds in a battle
against insurgents in the Afghan mountains.
T
en Green Berets from the Opera- the Silver Star, the third-
tional Detachment Alpha 3336 of highest combat award.
the 3rd Special Forces Group have
earned the Silver Star for their heroism in The Boats That
a battle in the mountains of Afghanistan. Won the War
On April 6, 2008, the 12-person Green
F
or ocean-going ves-
Beret team jumped out of helicopters sels, they were small
onto the icy mountainside at 10,000 feet — just 36 feet long and
to reach an insurgent stronghold in about 11 feet wide. But what
a remote village in northeast Afghani- they lacked in size they made
stan. But the team, along with a few up for in numbers. During
dozen Afghan commandos, immediately World War II, some 20,000
began taking fi re on all sides from the LCVPs (Landing Craft, Vehi-
insurgents, who were armed with ma- cle, Personnel) were built and
chine guns, sniper rifl es, and rocket- became so instrumental in the
propelled grenades. war’s amphibious battles that
The Green Berets were outnumbered Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower
and half of them were wounded, four called them the key to victory.
critically. Yet during the seven-hour Today just six to eight of the ungainly lit- A group of Green
battle they managed to subdue an esti- tle craft — sometimes called Higgins boats Berets conduct a re-
mated 150 to 200 insurgents. While after their designer — survive in the U.S., connaissance mission
Air Force jets dropped munitions on with about four more in Europe. Recently, in the Shok Valley of
enemy positions dangerously close to the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Afghanistan where
the Green Berets, the team made its way Beaufort obtained one of the boats from they later fought in a
down the mountain to reach a medical the First Division Museum in Wheaton, Ill., battle with terrorists.
evacuation helicopter. which received the LCVP from a collector.
On Dec. 12, 2008, the 10 men were It currently is being restored and will be
awarded the Silver Star at Fort Bragg, N.C. shipped back to Illinois, where it will go
Only about 200 U.S. servicemembers serv- on permanent display in 2010.
ing in Iraq and Afghanistan have received The boat’s frames and planks are ma-
hogany, which makes it unusual because
THIS MONTH IN HISTORY
most were made of plywood. Its armor
a73 On March 9, 1862, the first battle of the
plating had been removed, but amazingly,
ironclads took place. The two warships, the Moni-
museum offi cials found another Higgins
tor and the Merrimac, fought in the harbor near
boat in a marsh just four miles from the
Hampton Roads, Va., for four hours, signaling a
new era in naval history.
museum, armor intact. MO
— Mark Cantrell
PHOTO: SGT. DAVID N. GUNN, USA M A R C H 2 0 0 9 M I L I T A R Y O F F I C E R 9 9
MMar_history.indd Sec1:99ar_history.indd Sec1:99 22/2/09 7:00:46 PM/2/09 7:00:46 PM
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