WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Feb. 2, 2007) - A Special Forces Soldier was awarded the Silver Star for heroism in a firefight while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom during early 2005.

Master Sgt. Sarun Sar received the medal from Brig. Gen. David P. Fridovich, commander, Special Operations Command, in a ceremony at U.S. Pacific Command, Jan. 3.

The day of the attack, Sar's unit was conducting aerial reconnaissance. In fog and extreme cold, 9,000 feet up a snow-covered mountain in eastern Afghanistan, the first of two Blackhawk helicopters landed and immediately came under enemy fire. Sar landed in the second helicopter, dismounted, and rushed to prevent the enemy from damaging the aircraft and harming his team members.

He pursued one of the attackers into a building, and was struck in the helmet with a round from an AK-47 assault rifle fired from 10 feet away.

"It felt like I was hit in the head with a hammer," Sar said.

For a moment he was disoriented, but within a few seconds he established that the wound was not life threatening, and continued to fight. After the battle, he and his men administered first aid to two injured Afghan civilians, stabilizing them for medical evacuation to a coalition hospital.

Of the 12 personnel in that battle, only Sar and another Soldier were wounded.

"This country (U.S.) has given me so much, and this is a small price to pay. The real hero is the guy in the cemetery right now, he and his family," Sar said, referring to his weapons sergeant, who died in a separate battle in June 2005. "He's the one who gave his life for his country. He's also an immigrant from Mexico.

"Growing up in a war zone teaches you to be immune to a gunfight," said Sar, recalling his childhood during the Vietnam Conflict.

After immigrating to the United States, Sar became a U.S. citizen, and was later selected to join the Special Forces, where he has served 15 years.