Written by U.S. Army Sgt. Luther L. Boothe Jr.
Task Force Currahee Public Affairs
Paktika Province, Afghanistan – U.S. Army General David H. Petraeus, commander of International Security Assistance Force and commander of U.S. Forces-Afghanistan visited Soldiers with Task Force Currahee, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, at Forward Operating Base Sharana July 7th, to present awards as part of his final farewell tour before transitioning to CIA director.
Petraeus holds significant ties to TF Currahee. He was the 101st Airborne Division commander when discussions to reactivate the regiment began and he played a key role in planning their 2005 reactivation.“As I was coming out here, I realized this was probably my last battlefield circulation,” said Petraeus. “What better unit, in truth, to be visiting for what is an emotional event, in a lot of ways.”
“I want you, above all, to have pride, quiet pride, in what it is that you have achieved,” he said. “This is a truly historic regiment. I don’t need to tell you that. A lot of us back in the day were lobbying to get this regiment brought back on active duty, and I can tell you that the decision was made when I was Eagle 6.”
The ISAF commander had words of praise for the Currahees and their efforts throughout Paktika Province.
“You all have done a magnificent job over the course of the last year (against) very difficult terrain and a very difficult enemy—right up against the border,” he said. “You have truly distinguished yourself in that fight, you’ve made inroads, especially as you come to the end of your tour.”
“Most importantly, we’re very, very proud to see the new chapters that you all have written for the history of this extraordinary regiment,” said Petraeus.
As his remarks came to a close, Petraeus spoke of what it means to a commander to be able to recognize Soldiers who have displayed bravery in battle.
“What an honor, to be able to recognize a few of our heroes here today with Purple Hearts, awards for valor and Combat Action Badges,” he said. “There’s no greater privilege for a commander than to recognize those who have done something exceptional and again, I feel very privileged to be able to do that here with you today.”
Patraeus was not the only one who felt privileged; the Soldiers receiving awards from the commander said they were awestruck by the experience.
U.S. Army Pfc. James R. Morrison, an infantryman with “Dog” Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th BCT, 101st Airborne Div. and native of Rockland County, NY, ran through enemy fire to reach a weapon that was used to push the enemy back. He was awarded an Army Commendation Medal with Valor device, but was left without words as he was recognized by the outgoing commander.
“I was speechless,” said Morrison. “It would have been an honor to be recognized by the brigade commander, but Gen. Patraeus is the commander of all of Afghanistan; this is something I never expected to happen in my lifetime.”
U.S. Army Pfc. Christopher W. Mioduszewski, also an infantryman with “Dog” Co., 2nd Bn., 506th Inf. Regt., 4th BCT, 101st Airborne Div., and native of Erie, PA, was in the same fire fight as Morrison and was the first line of defense against the enemy.
“I was the front-line gun during initial contact,” said Mioduszewski. “I was one of the main heavy weapons that was firing to push the enemy back.”
Alone in his position, he held his ground against the enemy. He had mixed feelings about being awarded the ARCOM with Valor device from Gen. Petraeus.
“Getting the award from him was pretty sweet,” said Mioduszewski. “It would have been better to have the guys that were there with me that day, but it really felt good to be recognized.”
Both Soldiers said they were humbled by the experience and had thoughts of their teammates as they were awarded.
“If it wasn’t for my team, I know I would have never been able to make it to the other position, so this is definitely for them too,” said Morrison.
As he was preparing to depart, Patraeus asked each of the Soldiers to pause and to “think about what you have accomplished and take pride in it.”