Project Hero: MSG Robert Collins and SFC Danny Hall, Silver Star Posted by: McQ
on Saturday, December 10, 2005
This week we honor two soldiers from the 10th Special Forces group, both of whom earned the Silver Star in a single engagement in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Master Sgt. Robert Collins and Sgt. 1st Class Danny Hall.
Collins and Hall, both of 2nd Battalion, 10th SFG, were deployed to Iraq earlier this year in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
During offensive operations in the country’s Jazeera region in April, both men’s aggressive actions in battle led to the defeat of attacking enemy forces and the survival of their Special Forces detachment, according to their Silver Star citations.
While searching for an anti-Iraqi forces training camp and weapons cache, Collins and Hall’s joint coalition element was engaged by a platoon-sized enemy force with mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns and grenades. After Collins personally directed close air support from F-16 aircraft armed with 500-pound bombs, Hall led a dismounted charge into small arms fire and RPG volleys.
Collins then led his element to engage the enemy, personally eliminating at least three enemy fighters. In addition to his combat role, Hall — a Special Forces medical sergeant — managed to set up a casualty collection point and a helicopter landing zone to medevac out his wounded troops.
Perhaps Collins and Hall most conspicuously risked their lives when while pinned down by enemy fire, both men ran into a hail of bullets to recover a critically wounded U.S. Soldier. They carried the Soldier to safety, began medical care and saved his life.
Collins acknowledged the personal significance of his Silver Star, but said he feels that the award symbolizes the heroism of his team during its battle with anti-Iraqi forces.
“It’s important, but it’s representative of the efforts of the team, not just my individual effort,” Collins said. He also stressed that in addition to the pride he has in his SF teammates, he was just as proud of the other U.S. and Iraqi forces that fought with them that day in Iraq.
“They fought well and fought hard,” he added.
Tovo said that Collins and Hall’s uncommon valor on the battlefield came as no surprise to him after he learned the details of the battle.
“They epitomize the ideal of bravery that we expect of today’s SF Soldier,” Tovo said.
Typical of most heros they claim their award represents their team's effort, not just theirs. And MSG Collins reflects the pride of accomplishment as he notes that the Iraqi troops with them, the troops that his team had trained, "fought well and fought hard". It is the dedication and valor of soldiers like MSG Collins and SFC Hall who will make OIF an eventual success.
UPDATE: I've been graciously provided with a copy of SFC Hall's Silver Star citation which I include here:
NARRATIVE TO ACCOMPANY THE AWARD OF
THE SILVER STAR MEDAL
SERGEANT FIRST CLASS DANNY R. HALL
Sergeant First Class Danny R. Hall distinguished himself through conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against enemy forces near Tawhilla, Iraq on 04 April, 2005 while serving as the Medical Sergeant for Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha 041. SFC Hall’s heroism and bravery under intense enemy fire was directly responsible for the safety and well being of a combined 140-man US-Iraqi force and the death of 3 Anti Iraqi Forces (AIF) members. While searching for an AIF training camp/cache site in the vicinity of Balad Ruz, the combined force was caught in a 150 meter long L-Shaped ambush by a platoon-sized force simultaneously firing Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPG), mortars, PKMs, AK-47s and throwing hand grenades. The combined force broke contact and called for air support. After an initial air strike by F-16 aircraft armed with 500-pound GBUs, the Iraqi Army (IA) element attacked across the objective, immediately receiving enemy fire. The enemy’s withering fire wounded numerous soldiers, and restricted the ability to of the Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA) to call further Close Air Support. Quickly recognizing the need for action and in an attempt to maintain order and discipline among the Iraqi forces facing overwhelming firepower, SFC Hall sprung into action to destroy the AIF fighters and recover wounded Iraqi soldiers. SFC Hall, as the senior man of the element, dismounted his vehicle and maneuvered the ODA and attachments against enemy forces. Personally leading the charge, SFC Hall exchanged multiple hand grenade volleys with the enemy while being engaged at close range by RPG's and small arms fire. SFC Hall then directed his element to enter a nearby trench where they discovered three AIF fighters. SFC Hall, the lead man in the element, reacted quickly and engaged the enemy, killing three AIF and saving the lives of the Detachment members behind him. While clearing another portion of the trench line, a number of U.S soldiers assigned to the 1-278th Military Transition Team received debilitating wounds. The Operations Sergeant ordered suppressive fire and attempted to recover one of the American soldiers. The AIF attempted to capitalize on this situation and directed additional small arms and grenade fire at the wounded soldier. Again, SFC Hall reacted without regard to his personal safety. Under intense enemy fire, SFC Hall moved to the wounded soldier and assisted in his evacuation. SFC Hall then called for litters and litter crews, established a Helicopter Landing Zone and casualty collection point while under fire and stayed with the fallen soldiers, rendering lifesaving aid until aircraft arrived. He supervised and prioritized the evacuation of the multiple wounded and killed in action throughout the day. SFC Hall’s actions were in keeping with the finest traditions of a Special Forces Medic, serving as both a rifleman and a combat medic. His demonstrated exceptional heroism, selflessness and lifesaving medical competence proved infectious to the entire ODA as he rallied his comrades in the face of overwhelming enemy firepower. Throughout the engagement, SFC Hall’s decisiveness, calm demeanor and aggressive spirit allowed the ODA to close with and destroy the enemy elements, to include 17 x AIF Killed in Action, 5 destroyed vehicles and numerous weapons. SFC Hall’s actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of heroic military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the Special Operations Command Central, and the United States Army.
PROJECT HERO is an ongoing attempt to highlight the valor of our military as they fight in both Iraq and Afghanistan. We constantly hear the negative and far to little of the positive and inspiring stories coming out of those countries. This is one small attempt to rectify that. If you know of a story of valor you'd like to see highlighted here (published on Saturday), please contact us. And we'd appreciate your link so we can spread the word.
This is a great series, and I hope to see more about the fine examples our soldiers have given us. As the bard says, "This story shall the good man teach his son."
But for those of us who have not been in the armed forces, could you also spare a link back to the awards page so that, for instance, the Navy Cross and Silver Star citations may be put in context?
As one who also remembers the later words from the passage: "And gentlemen in England now-a-bed Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here, And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day." I hope never to have the necessity of showing such courage, but hope that I might muster half as much as these men have demonstrated if need arises. With examples like these, I may yet know what to do when it’s time that such things must be done.
I had the honor to have fought alongside SFC Danny Hall and MSG Buck Collins on 04 April 2005. Both men proved themselves as "point of the spear warfighters". SFC Hall thank you for all you did to try and save my friend, SFC Stephan Curtis Kennedy, killed in action 04 April 2005 near Balad-Ruz, Iraq. The 1/278th Regimental Combat Team will be renaming an Armory in honor of SFC Kennedy in Lenoir City TN in November 2006. Hope you and MSG Collins can attend.