Patterico's Pontifications

5/2/2008

MSGT Brendan O’Connor Awarded DSC

Filed under: War — DRJ @ 8:59 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Master SGT Brendan O’Connor, a 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) Soldier, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in a ceremony at Fort Bragg Wednesday. He was only the second American to be awarded the DSC for valor in Afghanistan.

MSGT O’Connor’s bravery is recounted in this official release:

“O’Connor was instrumental in keeping his team alive during an intense battle with over 250 Taliban fighters in southern Afghanistan on June 22, 2006. While making a temporary stop during a patrol, his team and their attached Afghan National Army soldiers were attacked from all sides with small arms fire, heavy machine guns, rocket propelled grenades, recoilless rifles and mortars.

During the 17 1/2 hours of sustained combat that followed, O’Connor and his team fought of wave after wave of Taliban attackers from a group of small compounds, fighting for their lives against insurgents who were intent on killing or capturing the beleaguered defenders. Much of the combat was so close that the defenders of the compounds could hear cursing and taunting from the enemies who swarmed the perimeter.

After hearing two Soldiers were wounded at another location, O’Connor removed his body armor and low-crawled under heavy machine gun fire to treat and extract his wounded comrades. O’Connor then carried a wounded Soldier back to a safer area, again passing through intense fire. One teammate commented that as he was crawling, machine gun fire “mowed the grass” around him.

His story was also covered by 60 Minutes, including this tribute from a fellow soldier: “He’s an absolute hero. He’s what people want to be.”

Patterico commenter Driver blogged the ceremony and provides an inside view of the military as it honored its finest. In addition, Master SGT O’Connor was the star in this Day-by-Day cartoon, a special internet accolade.

I’d like to add my thanks and congratulations, Master SGT O’Connor.

H/T Badgers Forward.

— DRJ

8 Responses to “MSGT Brendan O’Connor Awarded DSC”

  1. DRJ–It was a wild 24-hour turnaround, but one I’ll never forget. And I’m no stranger to Fort Bragg. It was one heck of an amazing event, as was the party afterwards, and I’ll be writing another post about that tomorrow. Gotta get some sleep, though.

    driver (faae10)

  2. Hollywood will buy the film rights. In it Sgt Conner will be a sadistic child rapist and a glorious Taliban hero will save the children. Sgt Conner will loot mosques, urinate on Korans, and stay drunk for half the movie. A vicious President of the U.S. will conjure up a the actual story whose purpose is to make Conner look good. End with Sgt Conner faking injuries in a VA hospital so he can get free medical care for life. Standing ovation at Directors Guild screening.

    Howard Veit (cc8b85)

  3. Thanks for a great story. One of the most vivid memories I have of Officer Training was the weekly reading of a DSC or Medal of Honor award narrative. Very humbling.

    Anyway, a minor correction. Army ranks are always abbreviated to 3 characters, i.e., CPT, MAJ, SGT, or in the case of an E-8 soldier in a non leadership position, MSG (Master Sergeant) An E-8 in a leadership position is a 1st SGT, or 1SG.

    When I hear Dick Cavett say that soldier’s medal are impressive, if you’re 12, I wana smack him and say medals are awarded as a token acknowledgment for courage you’ll never know. Thank you, MSG O’Connor. My flag flys in honor of those like you. God bless you.

    Chris Bracco
    CPT, INF
    US Army (veteran)

    Chris Bracco (e5cbee)

  4. The Day-to-Day strip sure has a point.

    During WWII and even Korea, MSG would have been brought home and given ticker-tape parades in every city, he would have appeared on every morning news show and late night talk show.

    Partly – admittedly – for propaganda purposes; mostly to celebrate his singular example of the American spirit in action.

    Two generations later, not a word from the media. We hide our heroes, even from each other.

    PB (df860b)

  5. Brendan truly had the line of the day on Wednesday, when, after apologizing to his wife for all the missed birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, etc., he promised to retire and start spending his pension checks on her. “New seat covers for the mini-van, honey, I promise.”

    Brought the house down.

    driver (faae10)

  6. The humor of the truly humble.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  7. My sister married into the O’Connor family, so I’m claiming a distant relationship to Brendan and his family. In a time when few US families have a direct connection to the military and the war in the Middle East, Brendan’s story is a real opportunity.

    I’ve taken accounts like yours, files of the original award application and the 60 Minutes piece to circulate to my wider family and neighbors in Norther NJ.

    Seven of the ten boys in our family served as officers in the uniformed services – most of us Cold Warriors. Having guys like Brendan is a reinforces our message of National Service to our kids. I’m a big believer of the concept – not just military service. We need teachers, healthcare people, PeaceCorps and enviro-types to sacrifice two years serving the nation in gratitude for the blessings bestowed.

    Dunc in Altum
    From The Whelans

    Steve Whelan (a110bc)

  8. I served with MSG O’Connor when he was a Captain in the Army Reserves, and this does not surprise me he was always the individual that would take care of and look out for his men, I’m honored to have served with him and to call him friend and brother in arms!

    Bruce Kochy (c4382f)


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