With his unit ambushed by more than 200 Taliban fighters and trapped in a firefight that lasted more than 13 hours, Sgt. Tavis Delaney went into hero mode. After coordinating a series of airstrikes, the Washington Air National Guardsman rallied his fellow soldiers for an uphill charge that was caught on camera.
Delaney and a fellow JTAC were dropped in during the thick of the fighting. Delaney "bravely stood upright" among a hail of AK-47 fire, mortar shells, and RPGs so that he could make radio contact long enough to call in the coordinates of enemy positions for a precision airstrike.Helmet cam video footage shows Delaney sprinting into a bunker after warning his fellow soldiers about the incoming bombs.
"This is going to be loud as shit," he says. "This is going to be big time."
An officer asks how far away the bombs will fall, and Delaney says about 300 meters. Asked if any U.S. troops are in harms way, Delaney replies no, adding: "I been running out there back and forth out there yelling at 'em."
After the explosion rattles the bunker, Delaney urges his fellow troops to take the high ground.
"Sir, I say we take that hill," he says. "We need to take that frickin' hill or we're going to play this game all day. You want to run up there with me? After this bomb goes off just charge up? We got to. You guys want to go?"
Incredibly, more than 200 Taliban insurgents were killed during the battle, while U.S. troops incurred no casualties. The Air Force announced Friday that Delaney will be awarded the Silver Star -- the third-highest military honor -- for his bravery. He is just the third U.S. soldier to receive a silver star for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"To save his fellow soldiers, he repeatedly sprinted back and forth between the huts and the sheep pen positions for the next 6 hours, exposed to frighteningly effective enemy fire from every direction," his commendation reads, according to the Tacoma News Tribune.