FORT BENNING, Ga. – Eleven Rangers from 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment were honored in a ceremony Feb. 27 for their heroic actions in combat Oct. 4-5, 2008.
The Rangers were recognized for a mission in northern Iraq targeting a high valued individual and the simultaneous destruction of his immediate network.
Elements of 3rd Bn., operating as part of a joint special operations task force, conducted several weeks of reconnaissance and surveillance prior to the Oct. 4 mission. This information led to a series of raids targeting the senior leadership for al-Qaeda in Iraq.
Among the enemy killed in action was one of al-Qaeda’s senior operational leaders who trained with al-Qaeda in Afghanistan; had ties with senior al-Qaeda leaders in Pakistan and had founded a terror organization based in Sweden. His death significantly disrupted the al-Qaeda in Iraq network by removing its most effective leader. The mission lasted several hours and resulted in the attack of 15 objectives, captured 30 detainees and killed six enemy terrorists.
According to the awards citation, Staff Sgt. Brett Krueger, a squad leader, led an assault on several armed enemy combatants. Utilizing a hand grenade, he mortally wounded an enemy combatant who was attacking the assault force with small arms fire. He eliminated three additional armed combatants, one of whom was attempting to detonate a suicide vest. His actions resulted in the destruction of enemy fighters and facilitated casualty evacuation, saving the lives of three wounded Rangers.
For his actions, Krueger received a Bronze Star Medal for valor.
“We like to do our job,” said Krueger. “That’s why we train so hard when we’re here and when we get over there it’s like you’re living that dream that you’ve trained so hard for the last couple of months.”
Several Rangers were presented with gold coins on behalf of Sweden’s government for eliminating the senior al-Qaeda leader.
During their recent deployment, elements of 3rd Bn., deployed to Afghanistan conducted 63 missions killing or capturing 143 enemy insurgents leaders while elements deployed to Iraq conducted 418 missions, capturing or killing or capturing 217 enemy high value individuals.
The following Rangers were also awarded the Bronze Star Medal for valor for heroic actions on this mission:
Sgt. 1st Class Tyson C. Crosby for braving heavy enemy fire from close range and imminent threats from multiple locations, he continued to close with and destroy the enemy. This resulted in the destruction of all five enemy fighters and facilitated casualty evacuation, saving the lives of three wounded Rangers.
Sgt. 1st Class Paul B. Johnston III for leading an assault and braving heavy enemy fire from close range and imminent threats from multiple locations, Johnston assisted in the evacuation of multiple casualties. His actions resulted in the destruction of all five enemy fighters and facilitated casualty evacuation.
Staff Sgt. Mark A. Williams led his squad in isolating the target building for the assault on five heavily armed enemy combatants. His actions resulted in the destruction of all five enemy fighters and facilitated casualty evacuation, saving the lives of three wounded Rangers.
Corp. Andrew C. Nicol for his tactical aggressiveness, selflessness, and discipline directly contributed to the successful completion of the mission and saved the lives of his fellow Rangers.