Capt Matthew D. Roland
Operation Freedom's Sentinel
August 26, 2015
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by an act of July 25, 1963), takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Army Award) (Posthumously) to Captain Matthew D. Roland, United States Air Force, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy while serving as Special Tactics Officer, NATO Special Operations Component Command - Afghanistan/Special Operations Joint Task Force - Afghanistan, Operation FREEDOM'S SENTINEL, in support of Resolute Support Mission.
On 26 August 2015, Captain Roland (23d Special Tactics Squadron), gave the last full measure to save the lives of his teammates at Camp Antonik, Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Captain Roland was driving the lead vehicle of a Special Forces Convoy transiting through Afghan checkpoints en route to their camp from Bastion Airfield. When the Convoy reached the final checkpoint, one guard approached the left side of Captain Roland's vehicle while a second guard maneuvered toward a fortified position containing a belt-fed machine gun. As the first guard came within five feet of the bus, he began to raise his weapon.
Without hesitation and with no regard to his own safety, Captain Roland yelled "Insider Attack, Insider Attack!" while keying his radio to alert all convoy members. Simultaneously, Captain Roland reversed his vehicle away from the gunman to protect his vehicle occupants. The gunman's first rifle burst tore through the front of the vehicle, killing Captain Roland instantly, but his warning to the other personnel in his convoy afforded them precious time to react. His passengers were able to take cover and draw their weapons. Neutralizing both gunmen and limiting the number of friendly casualties, Captain Roland's actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of military heroism and reflect distinct credit upon himself, the NATO Special Operations Component Command - Afghanistan/Special Operations Joint Task Force - Afghanistan, and the United States Air Force.