SSgt Sean R. Harvell
Operation Enduring Freedom
July 25, 2007
CITATION TO ACCOMPANY THE AWARD OF THE SILVER STAR
FIRST BRONZE OAK LEAF CLUSTER
AWARDED FOR ACTIONS DURING THE GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR
OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM - SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA - AFGHANISTAN
SEAN R. HARVELL
At the time he was simultaneously awarded TWO Silver Stars, Sean Harvell became only the second man in the Global War on Terrorism to receive two Silver Stars for actions in the Global War on Terror, and the first member of the U.S. Air Force to receive two such awards.
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 pleasure in presenting a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Second Award of the Silver Star to Staff Sergeant Sean R. Harvell, United States Air Force, for gallantry in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United States near Kherwaray Village, Afghanistan, on 25 July 2007.
Staff Sergeant Sean R. Harvell distinguished himself by gallantry in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United States near Kherwaray Village, Afghanistan on 25 July 2007.
On this date, while performing duties as a Combat Controller, 22d Expeditionary Special Tactics Squadron, 1st Expeditionary Special Operations Group, Combined Joint Special Operations Air Component, Special Operations Command Central in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, Sergeant Harvell and his Army Special Forces team became engaged in a savage eight-hour fire fight with Taliban forces to negate an enemy ambush by clearing a compound along the Helmand River.
Leading a small joint team into a compound with a fortified enemy position, Sergeant Harvell repeatedly placed himself in harm's way with little regard for his own safety. On the initial breach, he and his Marine Corps teammate engaged and killed an insurgent who was laying-in-wait from a covered position.
Sergeant Harvell and his teammate then moved to another covered position to engage additional enemy combatants, whereupon Sergeant Harvell again risked his life sprinting through a fatal funnel of fire to gain a dominant attack position, keeping the enemy pinned inside a room and within the compound's perimeter. Twice, while taking hellish, direct machine-gun fire from just thirty feet away, he exposed himself and shot a rocket propelled grenade to clear the enemy occupied room, but without immediate result.
Sergeant Harvell then maneuvered inside the compound with three teammates; positioning himself below the window the Taliban were firing from. Crouching under the window, he pulled the pin on a grenade and delayed two seconds before throwing it through the opening, killing another insurgent and abating enemy fire.
Finally, as Taliban reinforcements arrived, Sergeant Harvell and his team withdrew from the compound. Providing covering fire for his teammates as they exited, Sergeant Harvell was the last to leave. As he sprinted across the open yard, rounds from enemy heavy machine gun fire peppered around his feet.
While moving across a 200-yard open wadi, Sergeant Harvell and his teammates selflessly stopped to return fire, thereby covering the movement of the rest of the team to safety. In position on the other side of the wadi, Sergeant Harvell directed A-10 and AC-130 gunship engagement of the enemy with immediate success, neutralizing their attacks and killing over fifty insurgents.
By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Sergeant Harvell has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.