STO Receives Posthumous Silver Star

Special Tactics officer Capt. Matthew Roland on June 1 received a Silver Star posthumously, about nine months after he was killed in an insider attack in Afghanistan. Roland, 27, of Lexington, Ky., was deployed from the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Fla. On Aug. 25, 2015, Roland was driving the lead vehicle, a bus, in a convoy of US Army Special Forces soldiers to Camp Antonik in Helmand Province when they pulled up to an Afghan security checkpoint. Shortly after the bus stopped, two guards in Afghan National Defense and Security Forces uniforms moved from a bunker to the bus and one raised his weapon, according to an Air Force release on the award. Roland shouted “insider attack, insider attack!” and reversed the bus as the guard opened fire. Roland was killed instantly, but by moving the bus he gave the rest of the special operations team time to respond and kill the gunmen. “His actions on that night do not surprise me,” Roland’s father, retired Air Force Col. Matt Roland, said in the release. “He was a warrior, a leader and more than that, a servant leader whose first thoughts were for those he served.” Another airman, combat controller SSgt. Forrest Sibley, 31, from the 21st Special Tactics Squadron at Pope Army Airfield, N.C., was killed in the same incident.