News: Cav Trooper awarded for valor
Story by Sgt. Brandon Banzhaf
FORT HOOD, Texas – Tasked with clearing improvised explosive devices from roads, a convoy made its way down a remote roadway.
An explosion from an IED announced to the Soldiers that an ambush was underway.
With hostile fire hammering down on the convoy, two Soldiers regrouped and charged toward the enemy.
For actions on that day, one Cav Trooper was awarded for his valor.
Sgt. Corey Taylor, a Modesto, Calif., native and combat engineer with 3rd Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division received the Bronze Star Medal with a “V” device April 8 at Fort Hood, Texas, for his actions during the ambush.
“With disregard for his own safety and still under effective enemy fire, Taylor demonstrated remarkable discipline as he and I began to bound into the enemy ambush, towards the IED trigger man and three enemy fire-team fighting positions,” said Staff Sgt. Lincoln Dockery, Taylor’s former squad leader with Company A, Special Troops Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team as they were attached to Task Force Rock in Asadabad, Afghanistan.
On Nov. 16, 2007, the Task Force Rock Route Clearance Platoon received the mission to clear the Korengal Road from the village of Kandegal to the village of Omar.
The task force had credible human and signal evidence that anti-coalition forces had emplaced an IED along the Korengal Road.
“We were told there was a 100 percent chance we would get hit,” said Taylor. “We were always ready, so we were already prepared.”
Taylor was a part of the light platoon that was composed of Humvees and a Husky. Elements of a heavy platoon were mixed into the convoy due to the intelligence of a probable attack.
The route clearance platoon departed Camp Wright and traveled towards Korengal Road.
Walking along beside the vehicles were dismounted Soldiers using mine detectors trying to locate hidden IEDs.
“After we passed the village of Omar, the husky mine detection vehicle was hit by a command detonated [IED], which resulted in a total immobility kill on the vehicle,” said then-Spc. Adam Hay, a Soldier with the route clearance package platoon.
Taylor was behind the lead vehicle using a mine detector when the IED was triggered.
After the explosion, enemy forces began attacking the convoy with rocket-propelled grenades, RPK machine guns and small arms fire.
“I took shrapnel down my leg from the initial blast,” said Taylor. “I didn’t notice it. My adrenaline was going. We got ourselves together and fired back.”
The Soldiers returned fire with M-72 Light Anti-tank Weapons, M-136 Anti-tank Rocket Launchers and M-4 Carbines to gain the upper hand.
“Staff Sergeant Dockery and I then pushed up to check on the husky operator,” Taylor said. “He recovered from the blast and started to return fire.”
Taylor and Dockery then moved toward the enemy. One would provide cover fire as the other would move up. They repeated the process until they reached enemy positions.
“Using individual movement techniques, Taylor and I advanced up the rugged terrain and closed the distance between ourselves and the enemy,” Dockery said.
After getting within 25 meters, Taylor used his M-4 carbine while passing his hand grenades to Dockery to employ.
Because the two Soldiers gained suppression on the enemy position, 1st Lt. William Cromie was able to reach their position and resupply them.
While Cromie provided suppression fire, the two resupplied Soldiers crawled over more rocky terrain to close the final 25 meters between themselves and the enemy.
“We gained a foothold in the building that had previously housed the enemy fighting positions,” said Dockery. “The enemy retreated from their fighting positions back up the side of the valley," With the ambush disrupted, Cromie was able to bring a larger element forward into the area where Taylor and Dockery were.
“We found where the enemy triggered the IED,” Taylor said. “There was the command wire, battery pack and a trigger device.”
After returning to camp and seeking medical attention, Taylor returned to duty 48 hours later.
“I was exhausted. All I wanted to do was call my family,” Taylor said.
Hay said that Dockery and Taylor’s “quick reaction to enemy contact and immense bravery under heavy enemy fire after both had been wounded that day saved lives.”