Thu. Jul 11th, 2024

The life and death moment of an American soldier under a hail of missiles in Afghanistan

The life and death moment of an American soldier under a hail of missiles in Afghanistan 0
The life and death moment of an American soldier under a hail of missiles in Afghanistan 0

Craig Middleton received the Silver Star Medal during a commendation ceremony in 2012. Photo: US Army

When a US military convoy in 2011 was ambushed by insurgents in Afghanistan, Private First Class Craig H. Middleton was the operator of the Mk-19 automatic grenade launcher in the formation.

Middleton and his unit, Apache Detachment, 3rd Battalion, 4th Cavalry Regiment, were quietly crossing a dry riverbed in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, on November 16, 2011, when a hail of missiles

The first missile hit a reconnaissance vehicle, the second ignited a truck right behind Middleton, and the third flew through the window of the all-terrain, mine-resistant, ambush-resistant vehicle Middleton was riding in.

Middleton was immediately hit in the leg by countless shrapnel.

With what little strength he had left, Middleton grabbed the Mk-19 gun, firing 40mm grenades in the direction the enemy missiles were coming from as well as any place that flashed light or showed signs of the enemy.

The life and death moment of an American soldier under a hail of missiles in Afghanistan

Mk-19 automatic grenade launcher.

When the situation calmed down, Middleton crawled back into the vehicle that was hit by the missile and applied a bandage to one of the two air force strategic command officers to stop the bleeding.

More 40mm grenades were launched, but the nearby hills were so steep that fire from the Mk-19 in Middleton’s hand was difficult to reach the enemy position.

Middleton’s unit eventually forced the rebel fighters to retreat, but about 25 soldiers were killed in the ambush.

`I just think of ways to make sure everyone is okay and do what I can,` Middleton shared.

For his brave actions during that raid, Middleton in 2012 was awarded the Silver Star Medal.

The life and death moment of an American soldier under a hail of missiles in Afghanistan

The all-terrain, mine-resistant, ambush-proof vehicle that Middleton was sitting inside when the group was attacked.

See more: The 56-day battle in the Taliban siege by a company of British paratroopers

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