Area National Guard Soldiers Decorated for Afghanistan Firefight
JALALABAD, AFGHANISTAN - Six National Guard soldiers from mid-Missouri have received Purple Hearts as a result of a firefight in April, the Missouri National Guard says.
Their unit, an agribusiness development team, came under fire when Taliban insurgents attacked Forward Operating Base Finley Shields on April 15. Taliban fighters used a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device to get through a wall in the compound. They managed to enter the compound but were driven off. One Afghan Army soldier was killed and 15 Missouri National Guard soldiers were wounded in the attack.
Mid-Missouri soldiers receiving Purple Hearts include:
- Sgt. Sean E. Cochran, Jefferson City
- Master Sgt. Kevin L. Craig, Mokane
- Specialist Byron R. Helton, Jefferson City
- Spc. Arthur J. Johnson, Eldon
- Sgt. John K. Larson, Jr., Nevada
- Spc. Michael L. Saunders, Auxvasse
MSgt. Craig has also been recommended for the Bronze Star with Valor, as has Senior Airman Brandon Bumbales of St. Louis. In addition, Command Sgt. Maj. Phillip M. Lederle of Hartsburg received the Army Commendation Medal with Valor.