On October 17, 2010, in Afghanistan, German coalition troops from the German Bendeswehr unit came under a heavy, determined ambush by the Taliban. During the battle one of the German soldiers, Cpl. Tim Focken was hit by a sniper bullet.
He was severely wounded and needed to be evacuated for medical care.
It was an American MedEvac crew that came to the aid of their German coalition brothers. One of those in the MedEvac crew was Staff Sgt. Peter Woken.
The MedEvac helicopter landed under intense enemy fire. Staff Sgt. Woken ran over open ground to get to the wounded German soldier giving immediate care and then getting him back to the helicopter. His actions are accredited with saving the life of his coalition brother.
Staff Sgt. Woken’s actions that day were recognized by the German government in a ceremony where the German ambassador to the United States presented the Medal of Honor for Gallantry in Action of the Federal Republic of Germany to Staff Sgt. Woken.
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This video is of that ceremony. Besides the honor bestowed on U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Woken by the German government, there is a secondary message of importance that comes out in the video. That message is that for the last 18 years there has been a large coalition of nations who have fought and sacrificed along with our own troops.
There is a brotherhood, a bond between these brothers-in-arms that has been demonstrated in countless ways in the long battle against terror.
I have personal experience of this bond. One of my young cousins in Ireland introduced me to her boyfriend who had done two tours in Afghanistan with the Royal Irish Regiment of the English Army. His unit worked with U.S. Marines while he was there, and it is clear that his Royal Irish Regiment brothers had that kind of a bond with their fellow coalition troops.
The battle against terrorism has been fought alongside the warriors of many coalition nations. The Veterans Site honors those coalition warriors along with our own U.S. troops who have been engaged in the fight in Afghanistan for so long.
We thank those coalition troops for their bravery, their skills, and their dedication to the cause of freedom as well.
The Veterans Site sends its deepest respect and thanks to Staff Sgt. Peter Woken for his bravery under fire in his successful efforts to save the life of a coalition brother.
Congratulations on being awarded this high honor from the German Republic in recognition of your courage and skills under fire.
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.