View Full Version : U.S. Seth Howard, Silver Star , Afghanistan

09-03-2009, 01:15 PM
Silver Star

The Silver Star is the third highest U.S. combat-only award. Established in 1918 as the Citation Star, in 1932 a provision allowed servicemen to receive it retroactively. It has been awarded for actions as far back as the Spanish-American War

Seth Howard

* Home of record: Keene, N.H.

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 Seth E. Howard, United States Army, for exceptionally valorous conduct in the face of the enemy of the United States as Weapons Sergeant, Operational Detachment Alpha 3336 (ODA-3336), 3d Special Forces Group (Airborne), Special Operations Task Force - 33, Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force - Afghanistan, in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM on 6 April 2008. Sergeant Howard heroically fought for over an hour up a mountain while under intense Insurgent fire to rescue wounded members of his ODA pinned down by Insurgent fire. Sergeant Howard was fixed in a wadi by heavy sniper, Rocket Propelled Grenade, small arms and machine gun fire on initial contact. Without hesitation, Sergeant Howard directed his Afghan Commandos to fire on Insurgent positions while he engaged numerous positions with his sniper rifle and an 84 millimeter recoilless rifle. His accurate suppressive fire killed numerous Insurgent fighters and drew fire on his position, allowing the command and control (C2) element to move to covered positions. Sergeant Howard left his covered position and heroically fought across a 60 foot cliff under intense fire from multiple locations after hearing that the C2 element received two critically wounding ODA members and were in danger of being overrun. Despite the treacherous terrain and the intense volume of effective fire focusing on him, Sergeant Howard killed multiple insurgents before reaching his comrades. Sergeant Howard's arrival at the C2 position was vital to the survivability of the small force, placing himself between his wounded comrades and the enemy fire. Sergeant Howard courageously exposed himself as bullets impacted all around him while he engaged Insurgent fighters with precision sniper and fortified positions with a recoilless rifle fire in order to mark targets for Close Air Support strikes. Sergeant Howard's efforts succeeded in destroying multiple Insurgent fighting positions and slowing Insurgent fire long enough for fellow ODA members to reposition and render aid to the critically wounded. As Insurgent fighters moved to within 40 feet of the C2 location, Sergeant Howard, with complete disregard for his personal safety, moved into the open and engaged advancing Insurgent fighters. Sergeant Howard's composure and courage were remarkable as he provided counter sniper fire, killing between ten and twenty insurgents, including at least four trained Insurgent snipers. While his teammates made a daring descent down a sheer cliff, under fire, Sergeant Howard continued to provide suppressive fire. He refused to withdraw from his position, although he had less than a magazine left of ammunition, until all of his ODA and Commandos were off the mountain. His courageous actions undoubtedly prevented the C2 position from being overrun on two separate occasions, and his counter sniper fires helped save the lives of his ODA and their Afghan Commandos. His actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of military heroism and reflect distinct credit upon himself, Special Operations Task Force - 33, the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force - Afghanistan, Special Operations Command Central and the United States Army.

Service: Army

09-03-2009, 01:16 PM
On the morning of 6 April 2008, a pair of American Chinook helicopters zoomed in low over the Shok Valley in the unforgiving mountains of rural Afghanistan. This impenetrable, rocky ravine was unfamiliar and unfriendly territory to the Western powers – a heavily-fortified network of caves laced the canyon walls, concealing a massive network of terrorist freedom-and-pie-hating insurgents from the prying eyes of Allied warplanes and satellites. No NATO force had ever dared venture into this daunting region, and even the Soviets had been repeatedly turned away from this area by determined Mujahedeen fighters when the Russkies had launched their ill-fated invasion in the 80s. Today, things would be different.

Staff Sergeant Seth E. Howard of the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces wasn’t impressed by this harsh bastion’s seemingly-terrifying reputation. He was a fucking Green Beret. He was part of the same unit as uber-yet-fictional badass John Rambo, and the rest of the world had to worry about him. Not the other way around.

The treacherous, rocky canyon floor wasn’t conducive to setting down a couple of giant twin-propellered transport choppers, but the twelve men of Howard’s Special Forces team couldn’t have cared less if you’d paid them to. These ridiculous hardasses just strapped on sixty pounds of battle gear, grabbed their rifles, and fucking jumped ten feet down from the chopper door to the uneven rocks below. They didn’t even use ropes or anything, because apparently things like “safety” and “not breaking your ankles” is for total pussies.

With the men on the ground, the choppers took off and headed for home. The team broke into two squads – one group, led by the unit’s commanding officer Captain Kyle Walton, began working their way up a narrow mountain pass towards a nearby village known to be a bastion of the afore-mentioned terrorist guerillas. Howard stayed on the canyon floor, keeping an eye out for possible Taliban snipers, while the command squad worked their way towards their objective.

Well when you're a heavily-armed guerilla fighter, you don't spend twenty years living in a place like the Shok Valley without preparing for the possibility of being attacked by some badass commandos. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a few hundred guerilla troops opened fire on the Americans with AK-47s, rocket-propelled grenades, slingshots, handguns, sniper rifles, and Super Soaker 9000s (the most badass of all super soakers). The opening salvo struck the Afghani interpreter attached to the Special Forces command squad, killing him instantly and sending the poor guy face-first into the dirt like a lump of meat. Captain Walton and the rest of his team scrambled for cover, but were basically completely fucked, sitting out in the open while an entire army of insurgents used their gourds for target practice.

Well screw that. From his position at the bottom of the canyon, Seth Howard decided it was time to show those motherfuckers what it felt like to be on the receiving end of a running ballnock of Democracy. He grabbed his weapons – a totally sweet sniper rifle, a combat knife, and an 84mm recoilless rifle, and went to work turning terrorist brains into giant grayish-colored cranial explosions.

Now, before we go a whole lot further, let me clarify something. I assume that everybody who reads this website knows what a sniper rifle is, but before you go thinking that a “recoilless rifle” is some kind of sissy cross between a bolt-action .22 and a BB gun, here’s a picture to illustrate what this weapon looks like:

This isn’t a dinky paintball gun, my friends. It’s a fucking rocket launcher. So Sgt. Howard was out there switching between anti-personnel and high-explosive weapons like a frenetic first-person shooter protagonist, blasting terrorist fortifications with insane death missiles and using his badass sniper weapon to pick off anybody stupid enough to stick their heads out from their hiding places. When he wasn’t killing people personally with some random variety of pain-causing instrument of asskickery, he was coordinating gunfire on the Taliban positions, repositioning the remaining members of his squad, or dunking the fuck out of a basketball.

Thanks in no small part to Sgt. Howard’s powers of asskickery, the command squad was able to get to cover in a small cave near the top of the pass. Unfortunately, while the initial threat of being overwhelmed by superior numbers had temporarily subsided, shit was still looking pretty bleak for Captain Walton and his homedogs. Guys were taking hits all over the place, enemy reinforcements were rolling in, Walton’s rifle barrel had been blown in half, and the command squad was in a very real danger of being overrun by the guerillas. Shit, at one point one of the Special Forces operators had the lower half of his leg blown off in an explosion (in an insanely epic act of badassitude, the guy actually used his boot laces to tie the leg onto his thigh so he wouldn’t lose it and then just kept on fighting. How hardcore is that?), and yet another member of the team was also critically wounded by shrapnel and gunfire. Howard soon realized he was going to need to bust a move and do something epic if he was going to save his team members.

So Sergeant Seth Howard flipped out like the hardcore assbeater that he was, jumped out from behind his cover, and ran along the edge of a 60-foot high cliff towards his wounded allies. Bullets were flying all over the place, fucking shit is exploding like nuts, and he’s firing from the hip in the general vicinity of the enemy while sprinting towards his imperiled team members and doing his best to not plummet to his death below.

Luckily, this berserking Green Beret was more bulletproof than a Steven Segal movie, and he reached the small cave where the wounded men were taking cover and tenaciously fighting for their lives. With dozens of kill-crazy guerilla fighters bearing down on the Americans’ position, Sgt. Howard unhesitatingly rushed forward and placed himself between his wounded comrades and the enemy. He pushed ahead, alternately taking cover behind the body of the incredibly-dead interpreter and a small, 12-inch-high boulder, all the while directing accurate sniper and rocket fire on the oncoming rebel hordes with his one-man arsenal of balls-out terrorist nut-destruction.

Meanwhile, the rest of the command team had formulated a daring plan – they were going to make a break for it. The seriously jacked-up soldiers started making their way down the sheer cliff face towards the floor of the canyon, nearly 60 feet below. While Captain Walton and his team began evacuating the wounded, Sgt. Howard kept up his fire on the enemy, trying to draw their attention away from the wounded Americans. He knew that eventually the Taliban were going to need to pay attention to the ripshit pissed-off motherfucker with the bazooka. He was right. This one-man demolition derby was blasting fortified positions with rockets, popping dudes’ heads off with his rifle, and marking targets for US air strikes, which were now being called down almost directly on top of his position. Shit, at one point, a 2,000-pound bomb landed about 300 feet away from him and nearly blew him off the edge of the cliff, but a little something like “almost becoming human charcoal” wasn’t going to deter this guy from his mission. He continued providing suppressing fire while the command team made its way down, destroying several enemy weapons teams and wasting over 20 enemy troops – including 4 highly-trained Taliban snipers.

Even though he was almost completely out of bullets, Howard continued to defend his position, single-handedly holding off the insurgent fighters while the rest of his team escaped. It was only after the command squad was at the extraction point that he began to pull back, making his way down the cliff to safety and using the bombs from the F-15s and Apache Gunships as cover. He would wait for the explosions, and then move during the confusion. Bombs were going off everywhere, and this guy was like fucking Stallone running in slow motion in front of a fiery explosion in some kind of over-the-top awesome action movie. He eventually made it down to the LZ and was extracted with the rest of his team.

For their insane actions battling terrorists in the Shok Valley, the members of the 3rd Special Forces were awarded 10 Silver Stars – the most issued in a single day since the Vietnam War. Six soldiers were wounded – four critically – but they took down over 200 of the enemy, with Sergeant Seth Howard personally accounting for dozens of enemy troops, snipers, and RPG nests. For successfully preventing the command squad from being overrun by the enemy on two separate occasions, Howard also won the Silver Star – the third highest award for bravery offered by the United States.

More importantly, every member of his unit survived the battle.

09-03-2009, 04:27 PM
asskickery is a very appropriate word to describe his actions