AF Master Sgt Sheridan and Staff Sgt Baradat receive Silver Star
Master Sgt. Delorean Sheridan still can’t remember the sound of the machine gun fire that killed his comrades.
But he remembers how the smoke rose with each new round, and he remembers the thought that played over and over in his head until the insurgent lay dead: I have to kill the shooter before he kills all of us.
Sheridan was in Afghanistan’s Wardak Province preparing for a mission with Army Special Forces and Afghan security forces last March when an Afghan national police officer turned his gun on the team. Within moments, some 20 insurgents from outside the base began firing on U.S. forces and their Afghan counterparts in a coordinated, insider attack.
Sheridan reacted instantly. He leaped into the turret of an armored vehicle and shot the turncoat 11 times before turning his attention to his wounded teammates. Sheridan darted into the firefight three times to pull his comrades to safety. The combat controller called in six medevac flights and still managed to direct close air support overhead, which resulted in the deaths of four more enemies.
The heroic actions earned Sheridan a Silver Star, the military’s third-highest honor for gallantry in combat.
Baradat's Silver Star is no less amazing. I was in Wardak Province back in 2004-2005, and I am not exagerating when I say we had under a full strength company in the entire region. We'd go into villages that had never seen Americans before. There was no way we could cover the whole area, and now it is really bad juju there.
I've always said that if I had the eyesight for it, and knew then what I know now, I would have passed on Army Infantry and tried to go combat controller in the Air Force. They live better back in the safe areas, and they are utterly badass out in the field when the shooting starts. These guys are amazing, and especially for their humility. I actually sort of laughed at Sheridan saying "a cup of coffee and a thank you would have been plenty" of thanks. That sounds like every one of those guys I met.