AFGHANISTAN: Airborne Soldier Receives Nation’s Second-Highest Valor Medal

April 13, 2012 at 7:24 am Leave a comment

Distinguished Service Cross

An Army sergeant who twice drove into the kill zone of a 2010 ambush in Afghanistan to rescue wounded comrades – despite his own serious wounds – was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross Thursday (April 12).

Sgt. Felipe Pereira of the 101st Airborne Division was presented with the nation’s second highest award for valor – after the Medal of Honor – by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno at a ceremony at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, the division’s headquarters. The DSC is equivalent to the Air Force Cross and Navy Cross.

Gen. Raymond Odierno, the Army Chief of Staff, pins the Distinguished Service Cross on Sgt. Felipe Pereira for heroism in Afghanistan. (Army photo by Sam Shore)

Pereira, 28, was on his first deployment to Afghanistan with the rank of specialist on Nov. 1, 2010 when a roadside bomb detonated during a patrol in  Kandahar province, killing two soldiers in his squad. Pereira, a Brazilian immigrant who had joined the Army less than two years earlier, was himself seriously wounded by shrapnel.

But he refused medical assistance, and drove an all-terrain vehicle into enemy fire to help evacuate other wounded soldiers “with little regard for his own safety or care,” according to the citation for his heroism. Even though his lung had started to collapse and he was having trouble breathing he drove into the kill zone – twice.

Pereira was credited with saving the lives of two wounded soldiers while risking his own. “Only after all of the wounded soldiers had been evacuated and were receiving medical care did he accept treatment himself,” the citation noted.

The sergeant, now a squad leader in Company A, 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, is the 165th member of the “Screaming Eagles” division to receive the DSC, and the first to do so since Vietnam.

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Entry filed under: Afghanistan, Counter Insurgency, National Security and Defense. Tags: , , , , , , .

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