- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 29, 2008

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (AP) | Chief Warrant Officer Jonathan Harris, a Black Hawk pilot who withstood enemy fire to save a wounded crew member in Afghanistan, was awarded a Silver Star on Friday.

Retired Staff Sgt. Gary Harris, his 60-year-old father, was not going to be outdone; he was awarded a Silver Star and a Bronze Star in a simultaneous ceremony honoring his bravery in Vietnam.

The two generations watched each other through a video teleconference between Fort Campbell, where Sgt. Harris was honored, and Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, where the younger Harris family soldier is completing a tour.

Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Schloesser, top commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, told Sgt. Harris via video that he hoped the special ceremonies repaid the Army’s failure to give him an official ceremony nearly 40 years ago.

Sgt. Harris, of Corbin, Ky., originally received his medals in the mail.

He was officially pinned with a Silver Star by the deputy commanding general-rear for the 101st Airborne Division for gallantry in action against an armed hostile force in Vietnam. He also received a Bronze Star for meritorious achievement during his time in Vietnam.

According to the Army, the elder Harris was serving as a squad leader in August 1969 with a company near Go Rieng that came under intense mortar and rocket fire. He held off attackers and got his wounded safely aboard a medical helicopter.

Chief Warrant Officer Harris, 35, was given the award for exceptional gallantry against enemy forces in July, when his helicopter was struck by rocket-propelled grenades and anti-aircraft artillery near the Afghan city of Gardez.

According to the Army, three soldiers’ lives were saved when the pilot killed an insurgent and dragged his wounded crew chief to safety.

“I’m kinda jealous, Dad; you’ve got two medals and I’ve only got one,” Chief Warrant Officer Harris joked after receiving his medals at Bagram.

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