TSgt Matthew P. McKenna
September 12, 2003
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
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 the Silver Star to Technical Sergeant Matthew P. McKenna, United States Air Force, for gallantry in action in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United States while serving with the 22d Special Tactics Squadron in the Murza Kalay Village, Afghanistan, on 21 September 2013.
On that date, Technical Sergeant McKenna excelled as a Joint Terminal Attack Controller on a combined team of Army Special Operations Forces and Afghan 3d Special Operations Kandak conducting a raid in denied terrain. Shortly after infiltration, Sergeant McKenna controlled air and ground sensors to execute air strikes on 10 insurgents in fighting positions preventing a catastrophic ambush. The patient enemy waited for reinforcements, maneuvered, and initiated a ferocious ambush from dominant fighting positions, pinning down friendly elements.
On several occasions, with no regard for his personal safety, Sergeant McKenna moved from cover, exposing himself to withering machine gun and rocket propelled grenade fire to locate friendly elements trapped by enemy fire. He then executed control of danger close precision strikes from airborne assets. The battle raged for several hours and friendly forces were burning through their supply of ammunition at a breakneck pace and were in grave danger of running out completely. Sergeant McKenna orchestrated an aerial re-supply at two locations, placing ammunition within 50 feet of distressed forces preventing what was sure to be significant casualties.
While friendly forces fought for their lives on the valley floor, insurgents from the surrounding areas responded with 65 reinforcements that maneuvered towards friendly locations. Enemy forces from the high ground began closing in on Sergeant McKenna's vulnerable position nearly enveloping it and threatening to overrun them. With complete disregard for his personal safety, and ignoring his teammates' urging to find cover, Sergeant McKenna bounded away from cover further into the kill zone exposing himself to heavy fire from an advancing enemy in order to control danger close air strikes.
The perfectly placed strikes provided time and space for friendly forces running low on ammunition to maneuver, ascend the mountain, and bound to the emergency exfiltration point.
Sergeant McKenna's actions throughout the 13-hour battle ensured survivability of friendly forces against a formidable enemy, enabled his team to clear two kilometers of terrain, beat back three enemy counter attacks, and contributed substantially to an incredible 103 enemy killed in action.
By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Sergeant McKenna has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.