'Screaming Eagle' Soldier receives Silver Star, re-enlists in the Army
By Master Sgt. Pete Mayes, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)April 8, 2013
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (April 8, 2013) -- Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Loheide received the ultimate two-for-one deal from the Army, Friday.
He was awarded the Silver Star Medal at a special ceremony, April 5, for heroic actions as a platoon leader assigned to the 2nd Platoon, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), during Operation Strong Eagle while deployed to Afghanistan in June 2010.
He also showed his commitment to the Army and his fellow Soldiers by re-enlisting moments after receiving his award.
Loheide, who is assigned to the Warrior Transition Battalion at Fort Campbell as an adaptive reconditioning noncommissioned officer, spoke to members of the media at a press conference following his ceremony, and said he was humbled to receive the award.
"I've often looked at this as kind of a double-edged sword, and I humbly accept this award knowing not only what I did, but also what my men did out there," he said. "I was never afraid of dying out there as much as I was afraid of failing my men. They were my responsibility and it was my job to take care of them."
Loheide was flanked by former members of his unit, who offered the highest praise for him.
"He took me in as a young junior officer and showed me what right looks like," said Capt. Douglas Jones, his former platoon leader.
"I am the product of what they forged," Loheide said.
Loheide suffered a traumatic brain injury during the conflict at Kunar Valley, Afghanistan, but was still able to evacuate his other Soldiers to safety despite his own injuries.
"I couldn't leave my men behind. It's not in me," he said.
He said his experiences as a combat veteran are very useful in his current position at the Warrior Transition Battalion.
"From my own experiences, I feel that I can relate to the Soldiers there more than the clinicians can," he said.
As for re-enlisting, Loheide said that was an easy decision.
"I've never left the Army because it's a part of me," he said.