• November 23, 2014

Nine 1st Cavalry Division soldiers receive valor awards

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Posted: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 4:30 am

FORT HOOD — For defeating an assault on a post in Afghanistan, nine 1st Cavalry Division soldiers were awarded medals of valor during a presentation ceremony Tuesday at Cooper Field.

Three of the soldiers were awarded Bronze Stars with valor device and the others received Army Commendation Medals with valor device for their actions to defeat insurgents who attacked Forward Operating Base Pasab in southern Afghanistan, on Jan. 20.

All the soldiers pinned by Brig. Gen. Michael Bills, division commander, serve with 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team.

“What they did was really embody the warrior ethos,” said Col. Robert Whittle, brigade commander. “They reacted in every way that we look for.”

Staff Sgt. Justin Ellis, of the battalion’s scout platoon, was in his bunk when the attack began.

“I ran into the fight and I was one of the first ones to get there,” said Ellis, wearing his newly pinned Bronze Star. He also received a Purple Heart Medal for being wounded during the attack.

“This has more pride,” he said. “A Purple Heart, you don’t shoot for that one. ... This is a really big honor.”

Lt. Col. David Polizzotti took the reins of the “Mustang” Battalion on June 6 and said awarding soldiers is an “awesome” way to begin command.

“These guys are all an example for the rest of the soldiers in the battalion — what they could aspire to be,” he said. “They motivate me.”

Read more about the awards in the July 2 Fort Hood Herald.

Soldiers honored for their actions at Forward Operating Base Pasab, Afghanistan on Jan. 20:

  • Bronze Star with valor device
  • Staff Sgt. Justin Ellis
  • Staff Sgt. Logan Combs
  • Spc. Robert Zanfardino Jr.

Army Commendation Medal with valor device

  • Staff Sgt. William Thomas
  • Sgt. 1st Class Trave Rhodes
  • Pfc. Baris Edwards
  • Sgt. Darius Dansby
  • Sgt. Robert Perry Jr.
  • Pfc. Hunter Sims
  • 1st Lt. John McCluskey, not present at ceremony

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