FORT POLK, La. -- Capt. Jonathan Silk, 1st Battalion, 353rd Infantry Regiment, 162nd Infantry Brigade, was awarded the prestigious Douglas MacArthur award for 2009.The award is presented to company-grade officers who demonstrate the ideals for which General MacArthur stood -- duty, honor, country. Silk's spouse, Staci, attended the ceremony in the Pentagon auditorium in Washington, D.C. and accepted the award from the Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. George W. Casey, in Silk's stead as he is currently deployed with the 162nd Infantry Brigade on Task Force Tiger.On April 9, 2004, as part of "Operation Iron Saber," Silk's platoon was involved in a three-hour firefight to seize Bridge 3 East in Al Kut, Iraq. During the fight, nine of Silk's Soldiers were wounded as his platoon survived rocket propelled grenade and machinegun fire. Silk dismounted and led his platoon through the firefight and seizure of Bridge 3. While dismounted, an RPG skipped off the pavement 10 to 15 feet in front of Silk and hit him in the chest. He received a Bronze Star with Valor and a Combat Action Badge for his heroic leadership during the battle of Al Kut. After deployment, Silk had mitral valve heart surgery for injuries sustained during the Battle of Al Kut and later received a Purple Heart.Silk was assigned to the Degree Completion Program, a program that helps those with incomplete credit earn their degrees while on temporary duty, and graduated from Louisiana State University, Alexandria, with a bachelor's degree in business administration.
While assigned to the Degree Completion Program, Silk was a team leader for a business simulation team that won first place amongst competing business schools across the nation. He was inducted into the Gama Beta Phi Society for academic excellence and placed on the LSU Dean's List.While commanding in Korea, Silk's training methods as a tank company commander were lauded. He maximized his training opportunities, balancing live and virtual training in the Close Combat Tactical Trainer. His combat experience served him well as he developed tough, realistic training events that led to a well-trained, combat-ready tank company.
His tank crews consistently took "Top Gun" during battalion gunneries and one of his crews became the first to shoot a perfect score of 1,000. While in command, his operational readiness rate exceeded Army standards and he eliminated more than $3 million in excess from his company supply room.Silk is an advocate for wounded veterans through numerous press reports, speaking engagements and endurance sports events.A tri-athlete before he deployed to Iraq, Silk competed in numerous triathlons since recovering from his injuries including the New Orleans Half-Ironman triathlon in April 2009, consisting of a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride and 13.1-mile run. He raised $4,448.47 for the Wounded Warrior Project in a one month period prior to the race.Silk published an article about his combat experiences operating in AL Kufah/AN Najaf, titled "Light Cavalry Platoon-Armor Team Integration Procedures," published in the July/August 2005 issue of Armor Magazine.Silk currently commands A Company, 1st Bn, 353rd Inf Reg, Foreign Security Forces-Combat Advisors, with the mission of training combat advisors for deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan.