CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan – Sgt. Trent Pontes, of Whittier Calif., was awarded the Army Commendation Medal with Valor, Sept. 4, 2013.<br /> <br /> He is currently assigned as a team leader for the battalion commander’s personal security detachment, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 307th Engineer Battalion (Combat) (Airborne), Task Force SAW, in Regional Command Southwest, Afghanistan.<br /> <br /> While operating in Farah province, Afghanistan, July 4, 2013, Pontes displayed uncommon valor in the face of enemy fire. He was moving through an insurgent stronghold with Afghan National Army forces when two Afghan soldiers suffered serious injuries. <br /> <br /> Pontes immediately further exposed himself to the enemy so he could lay down accurate suppressive fire until the casualties were evacuated. As he continued further into the compound, Pontes scaled a 9-foot qalat wall in an attempt to gain the element of surprise on enemy forces inside the compound. As he crested the wall, an onslaught of enemy fire began, but Pontes continued to push forward to defend the battalion commander and his fellow soldiers. <br /> <br /> Pontes is an engineer stationed in Fort Bragg, N.C. <br /> <br /> His previous awards include the Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terror Service Medal, Parachutist Badge, and the Driver’s and Mechanic’s Badges. He was also awarded the Combat Action Badge for his involvement in this operation.