News: Nebraska Capt. Receives Silver Star from Vice Chief of Staff
Story by Spc. Nevada Jack Smith
FORWARD OPERATING BASE MASUM GHAR, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Capt. Brian Kitching was awarded the Silver Star Medal, the nation’s third highest military award, on Nov. 22, at Forward Operating Base Zangabad. Gen. Lloyd Austin, the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, presented the award.
Kitching, from Lincoln Nebraska, received the award for his valorous achievement as the company commander of Bravo Company, 1-64 Infantry, during deployment to Afghanistan in support of International Security Assistance Forces operations.
On the morning of Oct. 4, 2012, Kitching was patrolling with 1st Platoon, Bravo Company, during the second day of Operation Ghalra Sook, a joint led clearance mission between U.S and Afghan National Security Forces.
As the platoon was moving through a dense marijuana field they began taking fire from approximately 10-12 enemy insurgents.
“We got into some pretty good contact with the enemy that day,” Kitching said. “It was pretty tough fighting.”
Kitching began directing the platoon to return fire on the enemy position. The enemy fire intensified and a soldier received a gunshot wound to the arm. Simultaneously an Afghan soldier received minor shrapnel wounds from a 37mm grenade.
Kitching began ordering a medical evacuation for the wounded and continued to direct his soldiers to suppress the enemy. Kitching then exposed himself to enemy fire while sprinting to a location to better assess the location of the medical evacuation.
After the wounded soldiers were evacuated Kitching used a mine sweeping device to clear an area of safety for his platoon to move out of their exposed position at one point sprinted 100 meters through an open field and enemy fire to pull security for his advancing forces.
Kitching took charge of a situation in which the platoon was physically and mentally exhausted. In the true Infantry fashion and motto, he told his soldiers to “Follow Me”. Without his fearless courage and strong demeanor, the soldiers would have stayed in place and the outcome of the day could have been more severe and even deadly.
When asked how he felt to receive the nations third highest military medal Kitching said, “It was a real honor to be awarded by a leader like General Austin.
It was humbling, but really I’m more proud of my guys who were with me that day.”
Kitching and his men will soon be returning to the United States.
“We are really proud of what the boys are doing here in Afghanistan and look forward to seen everybody for the Christmas holiday,” Kitching said.