MSgt William C. Markham
Operation Enduring Freedom
October 14, 2001
CITATION TO ACCOMPANY THE AWARD OF THE SILVER STAR
AWARDED FOR ACTIONS DURING THE GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR
OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM - SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA - AFGHANISTAN
WILLIAM C. MARKHAM
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star Medal to William "Calvin" Markham, Master Sergeant, U.S. Air Force, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving with the 23d Special Tactics Squadron in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, near Kabul, Afghanistan, from 14 October to 30 November 2001.
On 21 October 2001, within forty-eight hours of the detachment's arrival in Afghanistan, Sergeant Markham planned, organized, and led a close air support reconnaissance mission to within two kilometers of the Taliban front line in order to identify potential observation posts from which his team could execute missions. Almost immediately upon arrival, Sergeant Markham's team came under direct enemy fire from tanks, mortars and artillery. Despite heavy incoming fire, in which numerous rounds impacted within fifty to seventy-five meters of his position, Sergeant Markham instinctively and successfully directed multiple close air support sorties against key Taliban leadership positions, command and control elements, fortified positions, and numerous anti-aircraft artillery sites. Throughout this highly successful mission, Sergeant Markham skillfully directed multiple air strikes involving over one hundred seventy-five sorties of both strategic and attack aircraft resulting in the elimination of approximately four hundred and fifty enemy vehicles and over three thousand five hundred enemy troops. The resulting close air support operations were decisive in supporting the Northern Alliance ground offensive, which resulted in the successful liberation of the capital city of Kabul and led to the eventual surrender of hundreds of al Qaeda and Taliban ground forces. Master Sergeant Markham's valor and calmness under enemy fire were a constant source of inspiration to his detachment and General Fahim Khan's Northern Alliance forces. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Sergeant Markham has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
Learn more about the actions taken by this Combat Controller from the Air Force Historical Research Agency - https://www.afhra.af.mil/Portals/16/documents/Airmen-at-War/Marion-CombatController-DirectedB-52Strike2001.pdf