Capt Matthew D. Roland
August 26, 2015
Operation Freedom's Sentinel
On August 26, 2015, Captain Matthew D. Roland, a special tactics officer (STO) assigned to the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron (23 STS), and Staff Sergeant Forrest B. Sibley, a combat controller (CCT) assigned to the 21st Special Tactics Squadron (21 STS), were wounded and killed in action (KIA) while attempting to pass through an Afghan Commando controlled security checkpoint that was located between Camp Bastion and Camp Antonik.
The unfortunate events of that day unfolded as a convoy was returning to Camp Antonik, with both Captain Roland and Staff Sergeant Sibley occupying the lead vehicle. Upon arriving at the checkpoint, the Afghan interpreter got out of the lead vehicle and briefly met with the Afghan Commando guards to provide the password for the day.
As the interpreter made his way back to the vehicle, one of the Afghan Commando guards raised his weapon. Simultaneously, Captain Roland, who was the driver, threw the vehicle in reverse and notified everyone on the radio of an insider attack. This was followed by the Afghan Commando guard firing into the vehicle, whereby both Captain Roland and Staff Sergeant Sibley were killed.
Roland’s actions allowed the other occupants of the vehicle to survive the attack, for it gave one Army Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA) member enough time to raise his weapon in the vehicle and engage the Afghan Commando shooter. For Captain Roland’s actions he was posthumously awarded the Silver Star.
Captain Roland was born in Rapid City, South Dakota in 1987. He received a commission in 2010 from the United States Air Force Academy and immediately entered the two-year STO training program. Upon graduation, Captain Roland was assigned to the 23 STS as a team leader and deployed three times, twice to Afghanistan and once to Africa.
Captain Roland’s military awards included a Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Fore Achievement Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, and the NATO Medal.
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