- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 30, 2019

President Trump presented the Medal of Honor on Wednesday to a Green Beret who helped to save four critically wounded comrades and stopped enemy fighters from overrunning a special operations force in Afghanistan a decade ago.

In an East Room ceremony at the White House, the president bestowed the nation’s highest military honor on Master Sgt. Matthew O. Williams of Texas, who still serves in the Army.

Mr. Trump noted that it’s “very rare” for an active-duty soldier to receive the Medal of Honor.

“We salute your unyielding service, your unbreakable resolve and your untiring devotion to our great nation,” the president told Sgt. Williams. “We are forever grateful for your life of service and your outstanding courage.”

Sgt. Williams was serving Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha when the firefight occurred on a mountainside of the Shok Valley in Afghanistan in April 2008.

His team was searching for a terrorist leader when the group of American soldiers and Afghan commandos took fire from “intense enemy machine guns, snipers and rocket-propelled grenades,” the Army said.

The president said the enemy had advantages in holding the higher ground, having superior numbers and using the element of surprise.

“But they had one major disadvantage — they were facing the toughest, strongest, and best-trained soldiers anywhere in the world,” Mr. Trump said. “No adversary on earth stands a chance against the American Green Berets.”

Sgt. Williams evacuated four wounded U.S. soldiers under heavy fire from insurgents. He also “prevented the lead element of the assault force from being overrun by the enemy,” the White House said.

He organized several Afghan commandos and braved enemy fire to lead a counterattack.

“As the terrorists continued to try to overrun their position, Matt raced back into battle,” the president said. “He fought for several more hours, valiantly protecting the wounded and putting his own life in great peril to save his comrades. Matt’s incredible heroism helped ensure that not a single American soldier died in the Battle of Shok Valley.”

Sgt. Williams told reporters, “At no point did I ever say, ‘This is it, this is over.’”

The military initially awarded Sgt. Williams the Silver Star for his actions. The award was upgraded after a review of valor awards that began under then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter in 2016.

Another member of his unit, Staff Sgt. Ronald Shurer II, also received the Medal of Honor for the operation. Several members of their team were in attendance at the White House ceremony, as was Sgt. Williams‘ family.

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