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Project Hero: SGT Joseph E. Proctor, Silver Star
Posted by: McQ on Saturday, December 23, 2006

The criteria for awarding the Silver Star are quite specific:
The Silver Star is awarded to a person who, while serving in any capacity with the U.S. Army, is cited for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force, or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party. The required gallantry, while of a lesser degree than that required for the Distinguished Service Cross, must nevertheless have been performed with marked distinction.
Reading what SGT Proctor did on that day in May in Iraq certainly rises to that lofty criteria. Gallantry performed with marked distinction shall forever be SGT Proctor's legacy, and those he saved will never forget his actions and his sacrifice:
Sgt. Joseph E. Proctor didn't stay hunkered down under cover when mortar shells started falling on the isolated observation post where he was helping train Iraqi soldiers.

Without any orders, the 38-year-old Indiana National Guardsman grabbed his helmet and his rifle and bolted out of the concrete barracks building into the open to provide first aid to wounded soldiers May 3 as small arms fire ratcheted up.

When a dump truck loaded with explosives broke through the east gate and headed for the center of the compound, he faced down the truck and kept shooting until the driver was dead, the bomb detonated, and Proctor was mortally wounded.

"Proctor saved countless lives that fateful day by stopping the driver before he could reach his objective," Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger, the Indiana Guard's adjutant general, said during a Statehouse ceremony presenting Proctor's family with the Silver Star.

"This was not an act of impulse," said Gov. Mitch Daniels, who pinned the medal - the nation's third-highest military honor - on the chest of Proctor's wife, Beth. "Sgt. Proctor knew exactly the risk he was taking. He knew what he was doing, and he knew why."

About 75 people attended the ceremony, including soldiers who served with Proctor in Iraq and relatives who enlisted in the National Guard after his death.

Staff Sgt. Nick Miccarelli, who served in the 638th Aviation Battalion with Proctor, said he wasn't surprised at his comrade's action.

"We all knew what he was all about," Miccarelli said. "He was always out front on everything."
SGT Proctor was an Indiana National Guardsman from an incredible family:
He had been a National Guard member during the 1980s and went into the Army on active duty, serving during the 1991 Gulf War. After 10 years out of the military, he re-enlisted in the Guard in 2002, prompted by the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Following his death, his 44-year-old brother Eddie, his 18-year-old nephew Bradley and his own son, Joey, 21, enlisted in the Guard. None have yet been deployed to Iraq.

"This is a family of patriots," Daniels said.

Joey Proctor said the day was not a time to be sad, because his father had given his life for his country.

"I understand what he was doing, and I understand why he was doing it," he said, standing at attention and speaking softly in the glare of television lights.

Eddie Proctor, who served in the military four years two decades ago and re-enlisted this year, was proud of his brother.

"I hope I can be every bit of the man he was over there," he said. "It's going to take some big shoes to fill."


Previously featured in "Project Hero":

1LT Brian Chontosh: Navy Cross
PFC Daniel McClenney: Silver Star
PVT Dwayne Turner: Silver Star
MSG Robert Collins & SFC Danny Hall: Silver Star
SSG William Thomas Payne: Silver Star
CPT Christoper J. Bronzi: Silver Star
SSG Charles Good: Silver Star
SR AMN Jason D. Cunningham: Air Force Cross
PFC Jeremy Church: Silver Star
SGT Leigh Ann Hester: Silver Star
CSM Ron Riling: Silver Star
CPL Jason L. Dunham: Medal of Honor
PFC Joseph Perez: Navy Cross
COL James Coffman, Jr: Distinguished Service Cross
1LT Karl Gregory: Silver Star
1LT Brian Stann: Silver Star
MSG Anthony Pryor: Silver Star
TSGT John Chapman: Air Force Cross
MSG Sarun Sar: Silver Star
1LT Jeffery Lee: Silver Star
SGT James Witkowski: Silver Star
SGT Timothy Connors: Silver Star
PO2 Juan Rubio: Silver Star
SFC David Lowe: Silver Star
SGT Leandro Baptista: Silver Star
SPC Gerrit Kobes: Silver Star
SSG Anthony Viggiani: Navy Cross
LCPL Carlos Gomez-Perez: Silver Star
SGT Joshua Szott: Silver Star
MSG Donald R. Hollenbaugh: Distinguished Service Cross
SGT Jarred L. Adams: Silver Star
1LT Thomas E Cogan: Silver Star
MAJ Mark E. Mitchell: Distinguished Service Cross
CPL Robert Mitchell Jr: Navy Cross
SGT David Neil Wimberg: Silver Star
CWO3 Christopher Palumbo: Silver Star
SGT Tommy Rieman: Silver Star
SCPO Britt Slabinski: Navy Cross
LT David Halderman: FDNY - 9/11/01
1LT Stephen Boada: Silver Star
1LT Neil Prakash: Silver Star
SFC Gerald Wolford: Silver Star
SGT Tommy Rieman: Silver Star
SSG Matthew Zedwick: Silver Star
LCPL Christopher Adlesperger: nominee Medal of Honor
SGT Joshua Szott: Silver Star
SPC Richard Ghent: Silver Star
CPL Mark Camp: Silver Star
The Veteran
CW3 Lori Hill: Distinguished Flying Cross
SGT Paul R. Smith: Medal of Honor
PFC Ross A. McGinnis: Silver Star


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.
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