SSgt Christopher G. Baradat
Operation Enduring Freedom
April 6, 2013
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Title 10, Section 8742, United States Code, takes pleasure in presenting the Air Force Cross to Staff Sergeant Christopher G. Baradat, United States Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in military operations against an opposing armed force in Sono Valley, Sheltan District, Kunar Province, Afghanistan, on 6 April 2013.
On that day, while attached to a United States Special Forces Team, Sergeant Baradat displayed extraordinary bravery and complete disregard for his own safety as he and his teammates responded as a quick reactionary force for a pinned down coalition element. Upon notification, Sergeant Baradat, his Special Forces Team and attached Afghan forces sprang into action entering the treacherous Sono Valley, a known sanctuary for Taliban and Al Qaeda militants. As Sergeant Baradat and his team moved through the tight valley on foot, they came under heavy enemy attack as they closed to within 800 meters of the pinned down element.
Sergeant Baradat charged through a hail of enemy gunfire, engaging insurgent positions with 30-mm. gun runs from an A-10 aircraft before taking cover in a small compound with a handful of his teammates, approximately 400 meters from the pinned down element. Once in the compound, both ridgelines bordering the valley erupted in gunfire, attacking both Sergeant Baradat's location and that of the pinned down element. As he and his team hunkered down behind cover against the heavy onslaught of enemy firepower, Sergeant Baradat realized he could not effectively communicate with overhead aerial assets from his protected position.
With complete disregard for his own safety, Sergeant Baradat moved to the center of the compound into direct enemy fire in order to communicate with orbiting aircraft. Ignoring repeated shouts from his teammate to take cover, over the next three hours Sergeant Baradat calmly directed lethal engagements from A-10 and AC-130 aircraft onto 13 enemy fighting positions consisting of over 100 fighters, while ignoring enemy machine gun rounds impacting all around him, spraying him with dirt.
When all friendly forces consolidated and egressed the valley, Sergeant Baradat once again showed incredible bravery when he purposefully jumped onto the running board of the vehicle where he was continuously exposed to enemy fire so he could maintain communications. With rounds again impacting all around him, he continued to control AC-130 and A-10 strikes to destroy the enemy attempting to cut off the coalition forces.
Sergeant Baradat's heroic and selfless actions directly resulted in over 50 enemy fighters killed, while saving the lives of over 150 friendly personnel. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Sergeant Baradat has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.