Sunday, May 24, 2009
Profiles of Valor: 10th Special Forces Group
On 10 September 2007, a team of three Army Green Berets led by Capt. Matthew A. Chaney, along with nine Iraqi police, began an assault from two helicopters near Samarra, Iraq. The team was targeting Abu Obaeideah, a leader of the Islamic State of Iraq in the area. The field designated for landing was covered with water, so the helicopters had to land closer to the insurgents' safe house, where they came under heavy enemy fire.
Practically blinded by dust from the second helicopter, the Iraqis were all but taken out of the fight from the start, so Chaney, Sgt. 1st Class Michael D. Lindsay and Staff Sgt. Jarion Halbisengibbs led a charge against the building where the hostile fire was originating. Halbisengibbs threw in a fragmentation grenade, killing two, and the soldiers rushed in. Lindsay was hit in the throat by an AK-47 round, and Chaney took a hit to the pelvis. Then both were thrown from the doorway by a grenade blast. Lindsay, who couldn't raise his rifle, fired at the enemy with his pistol. Chaney couldn't feel his legs, but he kept firing, killing a jihadi.
Halbisengibbs "continued to clear the structure in complete darkness as his night vision goggles and personal radio were all destroyed by enemy gunfire at point blank range," the official narrative read. He was shot in the thumb and knocked down by a grenade blast but continued fighting, killing another terrorist. As he moved back to the courtyard to protect his wounded comrades, Halbisengibbs was shot through the abdomen but managed to kill another jihadi on his way to the ground. He then directed the Iraqi police to finish the fight. Obaeideah was killed, along with 12 other insurgents, six by Halbisengibbs.
All three Green Berets have recovered from their injuries. Chaney and Lindsay were each awarded the Silver Star; Halbisengibbs received the Distinguished Service Cross, the Army's second highest combat medal.