View Full Version : U.S. Stephen Simmons Silver Star Army Afghanistan

07-29-2009, 04:26 PM
Stephen Simmons

* Home of record: Crawfordville, Fla.

Awards and Citations

Silver Star

Awarded for actions during the Global War on Terror

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by an act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Staff Sergeant Stephen E. Simmons, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy while serving with Company C, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Parachute Infantry Regiment, 173d Airborne Brigade Combat Team, in action against the enemy on 8 June 2008, in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM in Afghanistan. Staff Sergeant Simmons' gallant actions and dedicated devotion to duty, without regard for his own life, were in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army. NARRATIVE TO ACCOMPANY AWARD: On 8 June 2008, Staff Sergeant Simmons, assigned as the NCOIC of 47 Paratroopers at Seray Vehicle Patrol Base, was guiding a CH-47 Helicopter that was sling loading a Bobcat off of the HLZ when at 0530 Zulu the Vehicle Patrol Base was surrounded and attacked by a platoon-size element of ANTI-AIRCRAFT FIRE forces. The enemy engaged with DSHKA, PKMs and small arms fire and rocket propelled grenades from three separate positions. Upon initial contact, Staff Sergeant Simmons informed the Paratroopers at all the towers to ret urn suppressive fire, and to identify likely enemy positions. Staff Sergeant Simmons immediately established communications with all gun positions and ensured that friendly forces gained fire-superiority over the encroaching enemy. He quickly radioed the CH-47 pilots to inform them that the HLZ was under enemy fire. As the CH-47s maneuvered, Staff Sergeant Simmons kept he pilots informed of the situation on the ground in order to ensure their safe navigation out of the valley. Staff Sergeant Simmons, who has an outstanding background as a mortar-squad leader, ran over to the 81-mm. mortar pit and immediately began to lay effective fires on the enemy positions. While he was in the 81-mm. pit, Staff Sergeant Simmons suffered shrapnel wounds to his left arm from an enemy DSHKA round. Despite his injuries, he continued to command the fires of the 81-mm. tube and single-handedly fired 24 HE and 11 WP rounds while the 120-mm. section remained pinned down by effective enemy fires. After confirming that the enemy had been suppressed, Staff Sergeant Simmons ran to every tower position and collected status reports from his men, which he then relayed to the TOC. Staff Sergeant Simmons then spent the next several hours under consistent enemy fire running to each fighting position and re-supplying each tower with ammunition. While re-supplying each fighting position, Staff Sergeant Simmons stopped at the TOC to relay ACE reports as the VPB continued to receive accurate sporadic fires from the surround high ground. Throughout the duration of the firefight, which lasted over seven hours, numerous air assets were on station to support the fight. Staff Sergeant Simmons supported the Forward Observer by guiding the air assets, and ultimately facilitated the dropping of two guided bombs on the enemy's egress route. As the firefight continued, Staff Sergeant Simmons was notified of a wounded Soldier at Tower Two. Subsequently Staff Sergeant Simmons ran over 100 meters through enemy fire where he then performed an immediate assessment of the wounded Soldier, notified the medic, and escorted him to the aid station. Over the course of the seven-hour contact, Staff Sergeant Simmons facilitated the suppression of a large ANTI-AIRCRAFT FIRE element that engaged the VPB from the high ground in all directions. Despite being wounded and under fire, Staff Sergeant Simmons never faltered in his pursuit to destroy the enemy and repress their assault of VPB Seray. His actions and his commitment to the fight resulted in four dead and several wounded enemy fighters. Staff Sergeant Simmons displayed exceptional leadership and decision making ability during the engagement of 8 June 2008. He selflessly accepted great personal risk to keep his men supplied and prepared to fight the enemy. In addition, his actions were crucial in allowing the ground commander to coordinate the VPB's defenses. Staff Sergeant Simmons' reactions to enemy contact on 8 June 2008 epitomize the courage and steadfastness under fire of a Non-Commissioned Officer.

Service: Army

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07-30-2009, 04:13 AM
Now that is a fine example of an NCO