FORT BRAGG, NC (SFC Victor Aguirre) – Lt. Gen. Charles Cleveland, U.S. Army Special Operations Commander, presented 103 awards to 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) soldiers during a 3rd SFG (A) Valor Awards Ceremony at the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School auditorium March 27, 2014. Eight Silver Stars, 27 Bronze Star Medals for valor, 32 Purple Hearts and 36 Army Commendation Medals for valor were awarded.
“The men we honor today, represent the best of what is in all of whom serve this great nation, you inspire us to give back more, you give us hope in our fellow Americans and you motivate us,” said Cleveland.
Eight Soldiers were awarded the Silver Star, the third highest military decoration for valor and gallantry in actions against an enemy, for their actions while continuing their mission of assisting and developing Afghan special operation forces.
“We are out there doing our job, it is what we train for,” said Master Sgt. Charles Ritter, a 3rd SFG (A) operations sergeant and Silver Star recipient. “I didn’t know I was submitted for an award but I am honored to be presented with a Silver Star.”
“It’s an honor to be part of this ceremony, to recognize that when you get to know the men that are being presented these awards, that they are very humble warriors,” said Cleveland. “Regardless, of what political group affiliation, beliefs and thoughts, every American is appreciative of your sacrifice and service.”
Special Forces Soldiers are regionally and culturally oriented to defined locations. They are experts in unconventional warfare, direct action, special reconnaissance, foreign internal defense and combating terrorism. Regularly deploying to Afghanistan, 3rd SFG (A) has often partnered with Afghan special operations forces.
That continuing partnership was confirmed by the group commander, Col. Patrick B. Roberson, when he spoke of the ongoing mission requirement in Afghanistan.
“Many of the soldiers you saw awarded today will be getting on a plane here shortly to go back to Afghanistan,” he said.
Even as the unit paused to recognize the valorous actions of its Soldiers, they were still preparing for another rotation to Afghanistan.