PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
Airmen from the 920th Rescue Wing, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., packed a standing room only base theater here to witness the presentation of a Bronze Star with Valor Medal to TSgt. Dan Warren, 920th RQW, pararescueman.
Warren was recognized for his heroic actions during the night of Sept. 14, 2012, while deployed with the Alaska Air National Guard's 212th Rescue Squadron, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, to Camp Bastion, Afghanistan. In what was the most damaging attack on a NATO installation in Afghanistan, 15 insurgents dressed in U.S. military gear attacked Camp Bastion, killing two Americans, wounding nine and destroying six aircraft.
It all began on what was to be a restful night off for the pararescuemen, or PJs as they are commonly known. At about 10 p.m., a distress call squawked over the radio, "HC-130 crews receiving small arms fire and rocket propelled grenades, bunkering down."
Aware of resulting causalities, conflicting intelligence reports and an intense battle underway, team members Maj. Matthew Komatsu, the group's combat rescue officer, Chief Master Sgt. Paul Barendregt, Master Sgt. Kyle Minshew and Tech. Sgt. Dan Warren; all PJs, the team set out to treat the wounded. Jumping into the closest vehicle, they headed straight into the throat of the firefight.
Attacking in groups of five, the insurgents caused havoc on the camp, turning a fuel pit into a raging inferno and firing on all that moved. Once on site the team treated the wounded, and then went on the hunt for insurgents.
Equipped with night vision, the PJs tracked an element of the enemy to a bunker, where they secured the perimeter as a British unit went in for the kill. Five insurgents down. The team continued to track the remaining insurgents.
Locating four more, the team established command and control and radio contact with attack helicopters, guiding them in for the kill. Result: four more insurgents down.
The team then moved to clear several close quarter areas considered hazardous. During the search, Warren encountered an insurgent clutching a grenade. Warren instinctively engaged and neutralized the threat.
Lt. Col. Christopher Raible, the Marine Attack Squadron commander, was killed while attempting to fend off the deadly, six-hour attack, armed with only an M9 pistol. All members of the team attended Raible's dignified transfer ceremony, paying their final respects.
For their actions, each team member received the Bronze Star with Valor Medal.
A detailed account of the event can be read here