FORT RILEY, Kan. (WIBW) -- As their fellow soldiers looked on, three members of Fort Riley’s 2nd Battalion, 34th Armored Regiment, 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division were honored Monday for their heroic actions in Afghanistan.
The "Dreadnaughts," as the group is called, supported Operation Enduring Freedom as part of Combined Task Force Strike and Combined Task Force Spartan while partnered with the 2nd Kandak, 3rd Brigade, 205th Corps from the Afghan National Army.
Throughout their yearlong deployment, the "Dreadnaughts" conducted numerous air assault operations into an area heavily defended by the Taliban, resulting in many engagements and awards for valor.
During an awards ceremony on Custer Hill Monday morning, Specialist Alex Herron, a sniper, received a Bronze Star for Valor for rescuing his spotter, Specialist Wesley Farron, after Farron had been shot. In October of 2011, their sniper team was set up on a rooftop in Kandahar when they were attacked, surrounded on all sides.
"I just remember getting up and returning fire as fast as I could. About four minutes into the fight, I turned to reload another magazine. That’s when I was shot. It felt like I was hit by a bat by Mark McGuire. It hurt pretty bad. My first initial reaction- I thought I was going to die," Farron said.
"In my mind, I just keep saying, ‘He’ll be alright.’ But I was wondering if that would really be the case because it was a pretty fatal wound, it could have been," Herron added.
During the battle, Herron managed to get his wounded friend off of the rooftop so he could be treated.
"It takes a special person to do the job we do as it is but to go above and beyond your regular job, it deserves something. I definitely think he deserves what he’s getting. If it wasn’t for him and the other guys that helped me that day, I probably wouldn’t have made it," Farron told WIBW.
Farron and Herron said they will always be close friends after what they went through together.
First Sergeant Timothy Delarosa also received a Bronze Star for Valor for exposing himself to direct enemy gun and grenade fire and leading soldiers to place machine gun fire during an enemy attack, allowing for his company to suppress and destroy enemy positions and contributing to the success of the mission.
Sergeant Michael Dow, a medic, was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for Valor. Responding to a deadly bulldozer rollover, he rushed to the flaming vehicle in order to treat a wounded soldier during a rocket attack. Covered in fuel, Dow helped rescue the trapped and injured soldier.