FORT LEWIS, Wash. – Two Fort Lewis soldiers were slated to receive the Silver Star medal on Wed., Jan. 30 at Sheridan Gym for combat action while serving with the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division in Iraq. 3rd Brigade returned from Iraq in Sept. 2007.
Sgt. 1st Class Ismael Iban of 3rd platoon, Company C, 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, was scheduled to be recognized for his actions on Feb. 19, 2007, when a Joint Security Station at Tarmiyah was attacked by a suicide bomber driving a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device. While responding to the station’s call for help, Iban and his soldiers faced complex attacks from enemy using small arms fire and rocket propelled grenades,. Under Iban’s leadership, a platoon of just 12 soldiers successfully defended the station from continuing attacks while establishing a defensive perimeter, clearing debris and securing a helicopter landing zone. Those actions resulted in the securing of the station and successful evacuation of all 21 soldiers who were wounded in the attack.
Staff Sgt. Jon Hilliard was in a Stryker combat vehicle during a March, 2007 patrol in Baqubah when it was attacked by a powerful improvised explosive device. Hilliard was thrown out onto the roof of the Stryker vehicle by the force of the blast. In spite of multiple injuries to his left leg, he exposed himself to enemy small arms and machine gun fire in order to free a M240B machine gun and ammunition from the burning wreckage. He then identified enemy positions and provided suppressive fire while other wounded Soldiers were evacuated. Hilliard then retrieved his own M203 grenade launcher from where it had been blown out of the vehicle and employed high-explosive grenades, effectively neutralizing the enemy position.