The Bayonet

Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014

Ranger to receive Silver Star

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A Soldier with the 6th Ranger Training Battalion, ARTB, will receive the Army’s third highest award for his actions in October 2011 in Afghanistan.

Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Fuentes will be presented the Silver Star on March 4 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., by Maj. Gen. H. R. McMaster, Fort Benning’s commanding general. Fuentes said it is a great honor and responsibility to earn the award. “There are a lot of expectations that are required for me to uphold now,” he said. “I think there’s a legacy of guys out there who have also done great things.”

According to the Silver Star award citation, Fuentes evacuated casualties and defended his outpost from attack by enemy force, including rocket-propelled grenades, heavy machine guns, recoilless rifles, mortars and suicide fighters Oct. 8-16, 2011, while serving as the platoon sergeant to B Company, 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.

“At one time, we had 12 different known enemy fighting positions engaging us at the same time,” he said. “Due to the distance and weapons we had, that allowed them to send maneuver elements to attack us. We weren’t really prepared to sustain that kind of fight, but we knew we just couldn’t lose the foothold, so we stayed and we fought and we had to push out a lot of counter reconnaissance to try to interdict the elements that were moving forth.”

With low ammunition and little time to outrun enemy forces to protect the outpost, Fuentes said he responded knowing his Soldiers would be nearby to support him. “I think you just react, and the biggest thing with reaction is your reflexes,” he said “You know that no matter what happens, the guys behind you are going to be there so it makes it easier to do things like that.”

A native of Jackson, Calif., Fuentes enlisted in the Army in January of 2004. Upon completion of Infantry one station unit training, Fuentes was assigned to 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment at Fort Campbell, Ky., and deployed to Iraq during his assignment. Fuentes has been assigned to 6th RTB for four years.

“I’ve always wanted to be in the military,” he said. “My uncle and my grandfather were in the military and I just wanted to keep the tradition going.”

His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star medal, the Purple Heart with one oak leaf cluster, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Ribbon, among others.

Fuentes said it will be a privilege to have his Family in attendance as he represents one of many Soldiers who have made great sacrifices.

“It’s great for my Family to know what I’ve been doing in my career,” he said. “I think it’s very rewarding and I think it will be good for my parents to see what goes on and that the local population knows there are still guys who sacrifice and lose their lives and the war is still going on.”

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