Story and photo by Sgt. Grady Jones
3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division
Leadership of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, hosted an award ceremony Jan. 10, to recognize Soldiers and civilians for their superior service and support during the Security Forces Advisory Team’s nine-month deployment to Afghanistan.
“Iron” Brigade Commander Col. Michael Kasales and Command Sgt. Maj. Douglas Maddi, along with 3rd BCT subordinate unit commanders, pinned awards on more than 370 Soldiers and civilians during the ceremony to include 100 Bronze Stars and 200 Army Commendation Medals.
ARCOMs with “V” devices for valor were awarded to Spcs. Thomas Carlton and Craige Whiting, both combat engineers, C Company, 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, and Spc. James McDaniel, military police officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd STB, for their heroic actions when they engaged enemy combatants who had breached the perimeter of the outpost they were tasked with guarding. At the time of the breach, the Soldiers were also under small arms fire and grenade attacks.
A U.S. servicemember may be awarded an ARCOM with “V” device if serving in a capacity with the Army and distinguishes himself by
heroism. According to the U.S. Army Human Resources Command, 142,609 ARCOMs have been awarded for Operation Enduring Freedom as of Nov. 30, with only 3,056 having “V” devices.
“The ARCOM with ‘V’ device means doing your job plus more,” Whiting said. “If I had to do it again, I would.”
Purple Heart medals were given to 1st Lt. Christopher Perreault, infantry officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd STB, and Maj. Ethan Allen, executive officer, 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment.
“It means self-sacrifice for my country,” Perreault said. “It makes me proud.”
Allen said that he regrets having to leave his team on the first day of the mission when he was injured.
“You often think that eventually you’ll get up to a place in rank or grade where you’re not going to be out moving in a squad formation and controlling a squad-sized element,” Allen said, as he gave words of advice to fellow senior leaders. “You still have to know how to be able to perform those basic Soldier skills that all Soldiers must be able to do.”
“Maj. Allen and 1st Lt. Perreault wanted to come back (to their teams) after getting hurt,” Kasales said. “They didn’t back down. To me, that is just another indication of the kind of Soldiers within the brigade.”
During his speech, Kasales said SFAT teams were deployed to austere environments where access to phones or other morale, welfare and recreation facilities was limited. The SFATs also trained and lived with Afghan forces.
Kasales said senior Army leadership in Afghanistan described the 3rd BCT SFAT’s role as “game changing.”
Soldiers, who remained with the garrison element of the brigade at Fort Carson and performed their duties exceptionally, were also honored for accomplishments to include an Audie Murphy Club inductee, 3rd BCT Soldiers winning the 4th Inf. Div. Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Quarter board, and food service specialists winning culinary competitions.
“Equally as important was the recognition of all the hard work that went on back here,” said Kasales. “We asked junior leaders and Soldiers to step up into positions of higher responsibility. They had very little, if any, time to prepare for it, the same way that the SFATs had little time to prepare for deployment.
“It was so important to bring all those guys together and say it was a team effort,” Kasales said. “They all did very well. They performed exceptionally. They really stepped up and knocked it out of the park.”