Three men with different backgrounds all worked together in Kuwait to keep US troops safe from sniper fire and minefields.
The three men, Army Specialist Jonathan Alston PFC. Craig Burton, and Pvt. Stephan Schaefer were deployed to the Gulf as a part of the 2nd Armored Division’s Tiger Brigade.
The brigade’s task was to hold the left flank of the allied forces advancing into Kuwait. They were also to stop the Iraqis from heading further north, sealing off the road leading out of the area.
The presidential citation says Alston, 27, and Schaefer, 21, ran toward an Iraqi bunker where a handful of Iraqis were firing at U.S. troops while they were clearing mines out of Iraqi trenches.
As Alston headed toward the bunker, he set off the tripwire on an anti-personnel mine. He said, “…but it didn’t really do any damage because I had on a flak vest. Thank God the military has those.”
Alston proceeded to the bunker while Schaefer laid down cover fire. According to the citation, Alston threw two grenades, with the second destroying the bunker.
Alston was covered with shrapnel. Both men escaped without injury.
The following day, Burton was attempting to get through the highway. A barricade of Iraqi vehicles cut off the area.
Burton said, “There was no way to go on the road so somebody had to breach a minefield. There were minefields all around. . . . They were shooting our way because you could hear the bullets.”
In the dark, Burton worked his way through a minefield to cut two sets on concertina and barbed wire, so an “extremely critical” exit was blocked
For their efforts, they received Silver Stars for their gallantry. They were the first servicemen to be given the award from the Persian Gulf War.
The medals were pinned on the soldiers by the Secretary of the Army, Michael P. W. Stone, in a ceremony at a U.S. military compound. The medal is the United States’ third-highest award for bravery.
Source: LA Times