News: Soldiers get ‘coined’ by ISAF commander at Spin Boldak
Story by Staff Sgt. Brendan Mackie
FORWARD OPERATING BASE SPIN BOLDAK, Afghanistan – Marine Gen. John R. Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, recognized soldiers here for their achievements during a command visit, July 12.
Allen presented ISAF commander coins to six soldiers surrounded by their friends and fellow service members during a mid-day ceremony here.
Spc. Austin Coffed, from Corfu, N.Y., received a coin for his efforts as an infantryman and radio telephone operator with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division.
“Coffed’s technical and tactical proficiency as the platoon RTO and demonstrated performance while in country has earned him a recent waiver to specialist,” said Capt. Matt Gilroy, personnel officer for the 1-17th Infantry here. “He was also selected by the current commander to perform the duties of company RTO for the incoming commander.”
Spc. Dallas Davidson, of Fort Stockton, Texas, received recognition for his efforts advising the Afghan Border Police during Operation Southern Strike II while part of the Security Force Assistance Team 8.
“During a search of a village by the ABP, their commander lost control of his element as it was split into two groups,” said Gilroy. “Spc. Davidson was able to get the commander’s subordinate to a U.S. radio and coordinate with an interpreter, allowing the ABP commander to control his men through the mentorship team, enabling the mission to continue.”
Spc. Victor M. Ley, from San Diego, received a coin for serving as the driver of the lead vehicle for his platoon during Operation Buffalo Thunder II. Ley is an infantryman with Alpha Company, 1-17th Infantry.
“He drove 240 kilometers with a mine roller through restrictive terrain and enabled 2nd Platoon to accomplish their mission,” said Gilroy.
Sgt. Robert Murray, of Winston Salem, N.C., received a medallion for conducting six recovery missions in two months while here and at Combat Outpost Lakaray. Murray is the non-commissioned officer in charge of the combat repair team with Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 1-17th Infantry.
During Operation Buffalo Thunder II, “his maintenance and recovery experience greatly impacted the success of the mission,” said Gilroy. “He recovered and directed the recovery of eight mired vehicles in rugged terrain, enabling the Buffaloes to reach their objective.”
Spc. Daniel Reis, from Levittown, N.Y., received recognition for being the lead driver with Route Clearance Package 27, which is part of 1st Platoon, 569th Engineer Company, 223rd Engineer Battalion.
“His attention to detail and continual drive to improve his skill made him a key asset within his platoon,” said Gilroy. “His actions cleared several IEDs [improvised explosive devices] from the most dangerous routes in our AO [area of operations] and saved countless lives.”
Spc. Carol D. Sielawa, of Grand Rapids, Mich., received recognition for her duties as the maintenance clerk and female engagement team member for Bravo Troop, 1st Squadron of the 126th Cavalry Regiment, part of the Michigan Army National Guard.
“She implemented the use of the latest female engagement team tactics, techniques and procedures within her team,” said Gilroy. “Spc. Sielawa conducted eight missions resulting in the capture of a dozen high value targets.”
The awarding of commander coins, also called challenge coins, dates back to the age when enlisted soldiers were not authorized the presentation of medals. Accordingly to legend, an officer would separate the ribbon from a medal, presenting the latter half to a soldier for a job well done. In modern times, coins denote membership to a specific unit and are often awarded to service members for special achievements.