Combat Controller Receives Two Silver Stars

The Air Force has awarded two Silver Stars, the third highest award for valor, to SSgt. Sean Harvell, a combat controller with the 22nd Special Tactics Squadron at JB Lewis-McChord, Wash., for his actions during multiple firefights in Afghanistan in 2007. At a joint ceremony April 29 honoring several combat controllers (see additional entries below), Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz presented Harvell his medals. During one engagement, Harvell deliberately exposed his position so he could coordinate close air support during an intense 23-hour firefight. In another, when Taliban forces attacked his team as they responded to a US helicopter crash, Harvell was wounded and knocked unconscious, but he recovered, returning fire and directing danger-close CAS. And in a third, following a rolling, three-day engagement, Harvell repeatedly exposed his position during an eight-hour firefight, provided covering fire as his team withdrew, and then coordinated CAS for their replacements. (From JB Lewis-McChord: ceremony report by SrA. Kirsten Wicker; follow-up report by Capt. Ali Kojak) (Also see News Tribune report; Seattle Times report)