Soldier earns Silver Star for actions in Iraq
September 8, 2008
Narrative to accompany the award of the Silver Star to First Sergeant Eric J. Geressy
First Sergeant Eric J. Geressy, United States Army, distinguished himself by exceptional valorous conduct in the performance of outstanding service to the Unites States as First Sergeant for Eagle Company, 2nd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment assigned to Multi-National Division-Baghdad, Iraq on 4 September 2007 during OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM. Eagle Company was completing a Relief in Place/Time on arrival (RIP/TOA) of a Combat Outpost in Al Hadar, southern Baghdad to assume duty as the Squadron's main effort. Eagle Company's AO was the Al Qaeda in the Iraq center of gravity, plagued by Sunni and Shia sectarian violence. On 3 September 2007, the outgoing unit departed the Combat Operating Post (COP). First Sergeant Geressy immediately established the defense of the COP as the top priority for the Company. Under his guidance, the Company worked through the day and night, sand bagging windows and guard towers, repositioning key weapon systems, installing bullet proof glass for the towers, and erecting camour1age netting along the entire perimeter of the COP's rooftop for concealment.
During the morning of 4 September 2007, the Company's Executive Officer was on the Forward Operating Base (FOB) Falcon supervising the retrofitting of the company's vehicles. The Company Commander and the Fire Support Officer were at FOB Falcon attending a meeting; First Sergeant Geressy was the only company level leader at the COP. In the early afternoon, the Company received orders to investigate a possible Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED). While one of the platoons was investigating the VBIED they came under enemy fire. First Sergeant Geressy deployed the Quick Reaction Force (QRF) platoon and successfully controlled the link-Up and extraction of the platoon in contact, resulting in the killing of three enemy and no injuries to friendly forces. Within fifteen minutes after the platoons returned to the COP, the COP came under a complex attack from 35-45 determined enemy fighters. The enemy initiated the attack by firing 2 Rocket propelled grenade (RPGs) at the COP followed by a heavy volume of fire from AKs, PKCs, RPGs, and sniper rifles. The enemy arrayed themselves in a manner that allowed them to attack the COP from three directions simultaneously.
Once the firing began, First Sergeant Geressy immediately requested an Air Weapons Team (AWT) and moved to the roof, First Sergeant Geressy exposed himself to direct enemy fire by moving from guard tower to guard tower assessing the situation and inspiring his Soldiers by calmly encouraging them to keep up the fire. At this time, Specialist Holley at tower one was shot. Under direct enemy fire, First Sergeant Geressy, quickly moved to the casualty where he controlled the casualty evacuation while helping to carry the Soldier off of the roof. First Sergeant Geressy again returned to the roof, this time concentrating on directing the fire of the key weapon systems and increasing the volume of fire until the company gained fire superiority. During this time period, the AWT arrived on station. First Sergeant Geressy gave the AWT a quick situation report, and directed Soldiers to mark one of the known enemy locations with M203 smoke. Once AWT identified the building, First Sergeant Geressy, acting as the on-scene commander, authorized the AWT to launch a Hellfire missile into the enemy's defensive position, crippling the enemy. During the subsequent lull in fire First Sergeant Geressy returned to the Forward Area Support Team (FAST) on the bottom floor of the COP and reassured the injured Soldier while receiving a report of his condition from the Squadron Physicians Assistant. Based on the condition of the Soldier and the fight at the time, First Sergeant Geressy directed that the Soldier be ground evacuated to the 28th CASH. This was done immediately by the companies QRF, which First Sergeant Geressy had activated once the attack began. As QRF exited the COP with the injured Soldier, the enemy fire increased, attempting to disrupt the evacuation. First Sergeant Geressy once again rallied his company and ensured the Company gained and maintained fire superiority. Yet again, First Sergeant Geressy coordinated with the AWT to launch additional Hellfire missiles and conduct strafing runs with their 30mm cannons, which destroyed the enemy's remaining defensive position. With the destruction of the second building, Eagle Company successfully broke the enemy's will to continue the attack. First Sergeant Geressy immediately supervised the reconsolidation and organization of men, ammunition and key weapon systems. Aware that ammunition was low; First Sergeant Geressy radioed back to his Soldiers on FOB Falcon and coordinated for a resupply of ammunition to be delivered to the COP. This foresight prepared the company for a possible counterattack.
Throughout the day and evening of 4 September 2007, First Sergeant Geressy heroically led his company in high intensity combat, while simultaneously fulfilling the jobs of Company Commander, FSO, and First Sergeant. On numerous occasions, he fearlessly exposed himself to direct enemy fire to instill confidence in his men, care for his wounded and to destroy the enemy. As a direct result of First Sergeant Geressy's preparation, leadership and gallantry, Eagle Company killed 18 Al Qaeda fighters, with no additional wounded Soldiers.
First Sergeant Geressy's personal courage, uncommon valor, and selfless service contributed directly to the safety and evacuation of two wounded and the recovery of one fallen Soldier. First Sergeant Geressy without regard to his personal safety courageously risked his life under enemy fire to save the lives of his fellow Soldiers. His actions reflect distinct credit upon himself, the Second Stryker Cavalry Regiment, Multi-National Corps-Iraq, and the United States Army.