In Sgt. Ricky Beckles’ mind, Aug. 16, 2018 was a bad day. He still gets emotional about it.
You will see that in his eyes when he is asked about that day in this video. But isn’t that the way of real heroes? More often than not, they don’t think about themselves, rather they seem to commonly think and act out of genuine concern for others.
So it was with Sgt. Beckles that day. He was in Afghanistan with his Utah National Guard unit, serving alongside the 19th Special Forces Group when a convoy they were in was ambushed by Taliban forces. The Taliban opened up on them with intense, focused, small arms and machine gun fire and blew off an IED that immediately wounded 13 of the Special Forces troops.
When the IED went off and did so much damage, Beckles was enraged and immediately and repeatedly exposed himself to the fierce enemy fire so that he could take out the Taliban positions with shoulder-fired missiles. Shrugging off a ricocheted bullet that struck his helmet, he grabbed a machine gun and let loose on the attackers with fierce, steady and accurate fire, “while again deliberately exposing himself.”
His actions allowed others to treat and evacuate the 13 wounded Green Berets. He was credited with helping to save their lives. As a result of those actions, Beckles has been awarded the Bronze Star with “V” device.
One man was lost that day. Beckles always thinks about his fallen fellow National Guard brother, Staff Sgt. Aaron Butler. He held him in his arms as he died.
At Beckles’ Bronze Star award ceremony held at Ft. Carson, Colorado, the Commanding General of the combined Colorado and Utah National Guard, Maj. Gen. MIke Loh, said of Beckles, “He was the guy who seemed to walk through enemy fire like raindrops amid the frequent gunbattles of the Afghan fighting season.”
When asked about recieving the nation’s fourth highest medal for valor in the field of battle, Beckles said simply, “I didn’t know it was such a big deal. I was just doing my job.”
Beckles hopes to attend law school when he leaves the Army.
Learn more in the video below.
The Veterans Site sends it congratulations and sincerest thanks to Sgt. Ricky Beckles on being awarded the Bronze Star with “V” device. Your service, courage under fire and dedication to your fellow soldiers is a model for all of us. Hooah!
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.