On April 6, 2008, then Sgt. Matthew Williams was a Green Beret with the Operational Detachment Alpha 3336, Special Operations Task Force, Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force in Afghanistan. He was with his team on a mission near the village of Hezeb Islami al Gulbadin in the Shok Valley of Nuristan Province, Afghanistan. They had been inserted by a riverbed in very steep, rocky terrain.
Listen to Williams’ calm account of the events of that day in this video.
Soon after they arrived the silence around them exploded with machine gun and rocket propelled grenade (RPG) fire. Word came in that a couple of team members that were up higher, closer to the village, had been wounded. Williams and his unit found themselves in an intense battle with over 200 enemy combatants.
Williams climbed up the steep scree slope with another team member. They found that two of the men in that forward element had been wounded, one in the arm, the other with a serious wound to the hip. Williams went back down the mountain finding a new corridor to potentially move the wounded down and to get more commandos to move up to that level, then returned to where the wounded team members were.
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While others transported the other wounded man, Williams was able to help the soldier who was ambulatory down the mountain to a small house located by the river bottom. That house would become the casualty point.
All of this was done under extremely intense enemy fire from multiple directions.
Williams would go up and down that steep slope several times during the battle continuing to help get the rest of the team back to the casualty point where they continued to take very heavy fire from the enemy.
Williams coordinated the medivac helicopters to come in for the wounded. The medivac helicopters had to come into a hot zone and were taking heavy fire from the enemy as they did. Williams had nothing but praise for those helicopter pilots who did not retreat, but came in and stayed as long as was necessary to evacuate the wounded.
After six hours of intense fighting, engaged with over 200 enemy combatants, they were able to disengage. Not one U.S. soldier was killed.
Master Sgt. Matthew Williams was awarded the Silver Star for his actions that day. Last Sept. 14, 2018 he received a call from the President of the United States informing him that his Silver Star was going to be raised to the Medal of Honor at a White House ceremony on this coming Oct. 30, 2019.
The Veterans Site sends its congratulations to now Master Sgt. Matthew Williams. We thank him for his commitment to his team members, the wounded and to the highest traditions of the Army, the Green Beret and the Special Forces units. Hoorah!
Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site Blog.