Green Beret Awarded Silver Star for Defending Fallen Comrade

Sgt. 1st Class Richard Harris (right) shakes hands with Lt. Gen. Ken Tovo, commander of U.S. Army Special Operations Command, after receiving the Silver Star Medal on June 3 at Fort Carson, Colo. (US Army photo/Jeffrey Smith)

The small team of Army Green Berets riding on all-terrain vehicles had just passed through the village in Afghanistan’s Wardak Province when they ran into a well-planned, enemy ambush.

About 25 insurgents armed with AK-47 rifles, PKM machine guns, and RPG-7 rocket propelled grenades opened fire.

The air around the operational detachment-alpha assigned to 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) exploded with deadly enemy fire. The insurgent force was set up in staggered positions along the ambush line that stretched approximately 180 meters.

The ODA’s team sergeant, Master Sgt. Danial “Slim” Adams and Sgt. 1st Class Richard "Rich" Harris both got low and gunned their ATVs, attempting to accelerate through the kill zone, according to an account in an Army press release.

Almost immediately, Adams took a burst of PKM fire — suffering wounds to his wrist, thigh and neck – and was thrown from his ATV within meters of the enemy line.

Harris recalled the area around them suddenly came to life with the sounds and flashes of close gunfire. "My mindset was, ‘Holy crap. We’re in deep trouble,’" he remembered.

"At the time, I didn’t know what happened," Harris said. "I just saw him kind of dive…

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