Fort Jackson Soldier earns Silver Star
June 18, 2009
- Samaroo received the award for his part in the Battle of Wanat, which took place 2008 in the eastern province of Nuristan, Afghanistan.
- Nine American Soldiers were killed in the attack; 27 Americans and four Afghan soldiers were wounded.
- Samaroo, who has been in the Army for nine years, came to Fort Jackson in January as a cadre instructor at Camden Range.
- The range is now named "Wanat Mounted Convoy Live Fire Range" in honor of the Soldiers who died in the battle.
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Staff Sgt. Sean Samaroo, 4th Battalion, 10th Infantry Regiment, was awarded the Silver Star for his actions in Afghanistan in a ceremony June 11.
The ceremony took place at the newly designated Wanat Range, formerly known as Camden Range.
Samaroo received the award, the nation's third highest military decoration, for his part in the Battle of Wanat, which took place 2008 in the eastern province of Nuristan, Afghanistan. Samaroo is also a Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient.
"There were a lot of heroes out there," Samaroo said. "Some maybe didn't get recognized as much as me. I'm pretty thankful and honored."
On the morning of July 13, 14 months into Samaroo's deployment, an estimated 200 enemy fighters launched a coordinated assault on a small vehicle patrol base manned by approximately 50 American and coalition troops.
As the battle began, Samaroo - then with Company C, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade - and his squad were manning a traffic control point near the base. Samaroo's squad successfully defended the traffic control point before reinforcing an observation point, which was under threat to be overrun by the attackers.
On his way to the observation point - an uphill climb through exposed terrain - Samaroo encountered three wounded Soldiers, whom he and his squad brought to safety.
Samaroo himself was wounded by shrapnel and was bleeding from the head and legs, but refused to leave his position until reinforcements arrived.
Nine American Soldiers were killed in the attack; 27 Americans and four Afghan soldiers were wounded.
Samaroo credited his training and instinct with helping him through the situation.
"There was a time that I did not want to go up that hill," he admitted. "I thought that it was too early. There's such a thing as tactical patience. You have to let the battle evolve.
Because of that, I believe we saved a (few) more lives that way."
After he was wounded, Samaroo said goodbye to his wife and son aloud, according to a first-person account read during the ceremony by Lt. Col. Richard McDermott, 4th Bn., 10th Inf. Reg., commander.
"That's when I said, 'Man, this is it. You're gone,'" Samaroo said. "I really thought I was, but I just clicked like that and started focusing back on what I had to do."
Samaroo admitted that the incident changed his life.
"Any time you have a near-death experience ... it changes you. It does. You think about the small things in life," he said.
Samaroo, who has been in the Army for nine years, came to Fort Jackson in January as a cadre instructor at Camden Range. The range, which has been undergoing extensive upgrades, was renamed "Wanat Mounted Convoy Live Fire Range" in honor of the Soldiers who died during the Battle of Wanat.
Brig. Gen. Bradley May, Fort Jackson commanding general, called the renaming a fitting tribute as the range will be used to train "skills that will allow (Soldiers) to thrive in combat, just as Staff Sgt. Samaroo did."
Samaroo said he hopes to pass on those skills and ultimately intends to become a drill sergeant.
"That's always been a dream of mine, being a drill sergeant," he said. "I want to be able to share what I learned as a combat Soldier."