Afghanistan Veteran Honored with Silver Star After Decade of Battling for Recognition

by Josh Lanier

Retired Sgt. Adam Holroyd didn’t hesitate to spring into action when the Taliban attacked his battalion headquarters in 2009. Though it would take the Army 12 years to finally recognize his heroics and award him the Silver Star.

U.S. Army officials the branch’s third-highest medal to Holroyd’s chest in a small ceremony in Fort Drum, N.Y. on Wednesday. That’s where the story ends, but it began on Aug. 12, 2009, several thousand miles away in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan.

That’s where the Army ordered the former sniper team leader — along with the rest of the 10th Mountain Division — to dig in and push back the advancing anti-Afghan forces, Stars and Stripes reported. They’d spent months fighting there when the Taliban launched a coordinated assault against the battalion’s headquarters.

Holroyd braved a fusillade of enemy fire to pull an injured combat medic to safety. He then directed soldiers on how to get to the enemy’s position and push them back. To help, he grabbed a machine and laid down a volley of suppressing fire, the Army said in a press release.

During the skirmish, a supply shed full of rocket-propelled grenades caught on fire. Holroyd dove into the fray again to put out the blaze and remove the RPGs crate by crate. If those rockets had exploded, it would have killed several American soldiers and decimated a nearby school, an officer told Stars and Stripes.

“What Adam did, not only did it save lives, but it saved the mission,” the officer said.

A Navy Seal who aided Holroyd in removing the RPGs received the Navy Cross, a step below the Medal of Honor, years ago. But it took 11 years before the Army honored Holroyd’s actions. He had to wait another year to receive the medal because the Army misplaced it, Stars and Stripes said.

Holroyd said the medal belongs to the people who fought alongside him.

“It is to them that we owe our gratitude, not really to me,” he said, according to the Army Times. “Many of those people are here today, and for that, I am so very thankful. Thankful that we still live. This award is and has always been larger than just me. It is a marker in time for the valorous actions executed faithfully by members of the Chosin Battalion.”

Officer: Silver Star Recipient Deserves Recognition

Adam Holroyd’s former battalion commander said he proved himself time and again during their time in Nuristan Province. Lt. Col. Scott Horrigan said Holroyd’s bravery and quick thinking saved and a lot of lives and was instrumental in repelling the Taliban’s attack on their battalion headquarters.

Horrigan presented the Silver Star to Holroyd this week at the division’s home.

“Sgt. Holroyd embodies everything that is great about the 10th Mountain Division,” Horrigan said during the ceremony, according to the Army Times. “He’s a tough soldier, a great leader, and he is someone who will absolutely do what is right whenever he is asked.”