Project Hero: SPC Richard Ghent, Silver Star Posted by: McQ
on Saturday, October 28, 2006
When I do Project Hero posts, it's mostly a retelling of a story of valor, and the format is fairly straight forward and cut-and-dried. Identify the Soldier, Sailor, Marine or Airman and relate what they did in combat to be awarded their medal.
A little different today. Today I want to go into a little more depth. A little more than the litany of SPC. Richard "Buddy" Ghent of the New Hampshire National Guard winning his medal. It's important that we remember these are our neighbors and friends and youngsters we watched grow up. They're more than just a person in the military who did well.
So, without further ado, let's let the Manchester Union Leaderintroduce him:
Medal or no medal, he is still Buddy, a kid from Rochester who's ready to live out his childhood dream of being a firefighter, just a laid-back guy who found his niche in the National Guard.
Just another citizen-soldier who went to Iraq. His proud grandfather gives us a little more insight:
"Buddy was never great in sports, but he tried them all, and he always gave it everything. That's something that comes from here," he said, holding his fist to his chest.
And what came from "here" in Iraq was pure and unadulterated valor. What happened is short and sweet, but it is that way because Buddy Ghent made it that way:
A New Hampshire Army National Guard soldier is winning the Silver Star for bravery in battle in Iraq. Richard Ghent of Rochester charged enemy insurgents after being blown out of his Humvee in an attack that killed one guardsman and seriously wounded another.
It happened in March when a grenade landed in the Humvee carrying Ghent, Vermont guardsman Christopher Merchant and New Hampshire guardsman Jose Pequeno. Merchant was killed and Pequeno seriously wounded.
Ghent charged the insurgents, armed only with a pistol, and drove them back before more soldiers arrived. He was shot in the back and suffered shrapnel wounds.
Did you catch that? Armed only with a 9mm pistol. Facing insurgents who had just blown up his Humvee, wounded him with shrapnel and a gun shot wound to the back, killed his best friend and badly wounded his sergeant, he charged. With a pistol. Against unwounded insurgents with assault rifles.
He charged them.
And he drove them off and held his position until relieved by another element of his platoon. With a pistol.
His grandfather has every right to be proud of Buddy Ghent, National Guardsman from New Hampshire and Silver Star awardee. His grandfather had it right ... it does come (fist to chest) from 'here'. And, it did.
But he's still "Buddy" to mom:
His mother, Nancy Williams of Rochester, clutched a bouquet of roses throughout the ceremony. Afterward, she made her way to her son and then politely waited, as he posed with congressmen Charlie Bass and Jeb Bradley for the press.
Finally it was her turn. She reached down and touched the medal pinned to his shirt before wrapping her arms around him, tearfully whispering something in his ear.
When asked what she said to him, she simply shook her head. "What can you say? It's bittersweet. His passenger who was killed was his best friend, and his commander is still in the hospital," she said. "He did was he was trained to do. I know it was a harrowing experience."
Today we salute SPC. Richard Ghent for his valor. And we thank him and those who died for their sacrifice.
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.
I rememmber a fairly recent article in one of the gun magazines about soldiers who earned the Medal of Honor using an M1911A1 during WWII. I expect this incident will have similar longevity. I’m sure he’d rather have had a 20MM chain gun, but the firearm in your hand is always more effective than one you don’t have.