When his gun truck was hit with two rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire, Staff Sgt. Gerald A. Wolford pressed on to lead his heavy machine gun section through a four-hour battle to secure three river crossings in Ah Samawah, Iraq.

Wolford was awarded the Silver Star for his actions, the third-highest decoration for valor in combat.

"Staff Sgt. Wolford's action served to inspire other Soldiers on the battlefield and motivated his section to continue to firefight despite physical injury, vehicle damage and fatigue," the citation said.

Wolford said his Soldiers deserve the most credit for their work. He serves in Company D, 3rd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division.

The ceremony in which Wolford received his medal also served to honor the 325th AIR for its actions during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Brig. Gen. Richard Rowe, assistant division commander of operations for the 82nd, and Col. Kurt Fuller, brigade commander of the 325th, presented 13 Bronze Stars with Valor Device and 60 Army Commendation Medals with Valor Device to paratroopers in the 325th AIR.

The brigade returned from Iraq in February after a year of service there, spending most of its time securing southwestern Baghdad.