Soldier receives Silver Star for heroism in Afghanistan 12 years ago

| September 3, 2021

SGT Adam Holroyd receiving his award

I’m glad that this case is finally being rectified, but when you hear was Sergeant Holroyd did to earn the Silver Star you’ll wonder just why on earth did this take 12 years! Jeff LPH 3 sends in this Army Times report;

t was Aug. 10, 2009, when Sgt. Adam Holroyd and his fellow 10th Mountain Division soldiers came under a coordinated enemy attack in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan.

Soldiers from the “Chosin Battalion” 1st Batt., 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, had been tasked to air assault into the district center of northern Nuristan, “Barg-e Matal.”

Throughout the coming months, they would fight in cornrows, inside wood huts and beyond, extending the fight to the nearby mountains outside the district center, according to an Army release.

“To describe that terrain as anything less than extreme would be an understatement,” said Lt. Col. Scott Horrigan, former 1-32 infantry commander.

Horrigan was recalling those details because on Wednesday, a dozen years after that coordinated attack, Holroyd was awarded the Silver Star Medal for his actions at a small ceremony at the division’s home — Fort Drum, New York.

The now-retired sniper team leader rushed through enemy fields of gunfire during the attack on the battalion headquarters.

Enemy fighters peppered them with small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades.

Holroyd rushed through the onslaught to evacuate a wounded task force medic. He then guided soldiers around him to repel the attack.

During the battle, the ammunition supply point caught fire. Holroyd moved through enemy gunfire to grab water to put it out, warning others not to help him.

The sergeant then grabbed an M2 machine gun, suppressing enemy positions and drawing their fire from the smoldering ammo storage.

The brief relief let soldiers move back to the compound, supporting the unit’s defense against the attack. The battalion was able to maintain their position and end the attack.

I say, Gott Damn! Running through a hail of enemy fire to rescue one of his men (he didn’t pull a Biden and just leave him there to die), then coordinates the defense, and then moves back through enemy fire to get water to put out an ammunition store fire. While ordering nobody to help him douse the flames, he puts out the fire, then grabs a machine gun and lays down suppressive fire!

How did it take 12 years to reward this bravery? How is this only a Silver Star!?!? For comparison, here’s current Secretary of Defense and retired Army General Lloyd Austin’s Silver Star citation from 2003.


Category: Afghanistan, Army, F*** Yeah!, Real Soldiers, Silver Star

Comments (35)

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  1. Frankie Cee says:

    Bravo Zulu, Mountaineer.

  2. BennSue says:

    1. Austin should return that Silver Star. 2. This Soldier deserves all the respect and then some. Well Done.

    • Anonymous says:


    • MI Ranger says:

      That Silver Star Medal for BG Austin reads like an AAM!!!! WTF. That is about as heroic as making pizzas. Unless there is a classified part that somehow says the BG left his Bradley Command Vehicle and sprinted across open terrain to pull wounded Soldiers out of their burning vehicle, then dismounted their .50cal and charged the enemy fighting positions to single handedly destroy two fighting positions and capture 500hundred Iraqi Republican Guard…but then that would have been upgraded to a Medal of Honor!

      Yeah, that one need to be sent back for lack of information!

      • MK75Gunner says:

        Wow, between the unearned Silver Star and the other 8 non combat medals he earned for participation in the “Global War on Terror” The past 20+ years of our Military being at war has been good for Lloyd Austin. Imagine looking at Sgt. Holroyd’s citation and thinking, yeah Austin deserved the same award. Whenever I think my opinion of the likes of Austin and the other perfumed princes can’t get any lower along comes something like this.

        • KoB says:

          Now, now, now, fellas, lighten up on the Gnrl. You got to remember Austin prolly got his award for action on his knees, while maintaining his lips in a perfect pucker/O ring. Carpet burn and bruised tonsils were a clear and present danger. I see now who got my slot for the Class of ’75.

          BZ Sgt Adam Holroyd. SALUTE! Gotta wonder how the rest of his career would of turned out if SGT Holroyd had of gotten this award, or better yet the one he should have gotten, 12 years ago.

      • Anonymous says:

        No comment.

  3. Anonymous says:

    “Hey, we were winning when I left,” he reportedly said, when asked about the current situation…

  4. Retired Grunt says:

    Holy hand grenades, let me sweep up the pins real quick. I am so so sick and tired of senior leaders getting valorous awards for nothing. I’m just saying, hell, they gave the MoH to GEN MacArthur for leadership….. and it takes years and years to process for the actual fighters, the enlisted men and women of our services. Im admitting that even as an Infantry Officer I in no way showed valor like my men. Granted, if a platoon leader or company commander is firing their weapon other than to mark targets with tracers then they are no longer able to “manage” the fight. They’re too engaged.

    • QMC says:

      SECDEF’s Silver Star citation reads out pretty much like this:

      “There was fighting going on. I was kind of nearby.”

    • Poetrooper says:

      Retired Grunt…from an old infantry NCO: Your valor is in leading your fighters into a combat situation in such a way that their valor comes to the fore.

      As a former RTO to commanding officers, I know the selfless courage it takes to stand exposed in the midst of the chaos of battle, directing the fight.

      But thank you for your humility and giving credit where credit is due. Give yourself a pat on the back.

      Hell, I’d give you a Silver Star just for your honesty…

  5. Retired Grunt says:

    P.S. Outstanding performance above the call Sergeant.

  6. Jay says:

    Austin’s Silver Star is about as suspect as LBJ’s during WWII….

  7. Ex-PH2 says:

    About damned time….

    …. but then, who was President 12 years ago?

  8. ninja says:

    Hopefully, we will finally read the story of SFC Alwyn Cashe’s Family receiving his well-deserved, overdue Medal of Honor.

    Well deserved Silver Star for SGT Holroyd.


    Thank You, Mason and Jeff, was sharing this story.

  9. Sparks says:

    Well done Sgt. Holroyd. Damned well done indeed.

  10. ChipNASA says:

    Great Jerb Sgt, I mean it’s not like I could have done anything even remotely like this guy, except if you count adjusting to a new PT standard 12 years after you get out then yeah, I NAILED IT!!! (I’m joshing!!, about his suit coat that is, not mine)

  11. ninja says:

    Is there anyone other than myself who was Boots on the Ground in March 2003 when we went into Iraq?

    One has to know and understand the dynamics and the atmosphere of what occuured before and after the beginning of OIF.

    Completely different scenario on what took place in March 2003 versus August 2009, i.e. 6 years later.

    Am very aware of Colonel Perkins and BG Austin’s award of theur Silver Star. They were under a completely different Chain of Command, starting from POTUS to CENTCOM to CFLCC to 3rd ID compare to SGT Holroyd’s Chain of Command.

    I know exactly what Perkins and Austin did during that timeframe. I was there.

    As shared before, both Perkins and Austin were chosen for a mission. Both of them were recommended for the SS by their Chain of Command, which was approved.

    Am I standing up for both of them when it comes to their SS? Yep, I sure is. Do I currently support Austin in his current job? No, I do not.

    I am extremely disappointed in what Austin has become. But for some reason, I still believe that he and Milley and the CENTCOM Commander gave Ole Hiden Biden different guidance on Bagram and NEO..and that Biden said he was going to do it his way…anything to override President Trump.

    Situation can be applied to Afghanistan. I do know SFC D and I were both boots on the ground during the beginning of OEF (late 2001 to 2002) in Bagram.Heck, Disney Drive was just a dusty, dirt road. Years later, I saw pictures of Bagram…the Bagram I knew was not the Bargram I saw in the pictures. The mission became different as well.

    Did I submit my Troops in for a BSM? I sure did…and my recommendations for their awards were approved. Did I do it for every Soldier? No, I didn’t. The DA Form 638 recommendation was based on their mission during that timeframe. It did not matter what their rank was.

    The same applied when it came time for recommending awards for my Troops after we took over Iraq. Since we were Purple, my recommendations ranged from BSM to the DMSM..all which got approved by the Awards Board. The only award I did not recommend was the PH that some of my Troops received.

    I respect other TAHhers comments and perceptions on Austin and Perkins SS Awards. I’m providing my own personal assessment on both of them receving their SS, which to this day, I strongly feel they both deserve, because once again, I was there, boots on the ground in March 2003…and know exactly what transpired as to why they were awarded the SS.

    So sad this post about SGT Holroyd’s well deserved SS turned out to be more about Austin and Perkins SS award for an OIF mission that happened over 18 years ago.

    • SFC D says:

      SPC Disney was still alive when we got there.

    • Slow Joe says:

      Whatever the fuck Perkins and Austin did during the 2003 invasion does not deserve a valor award. They were far, faaaaarrrr removed from last 35 meters to the enemy.

      I don’t doubt they deserve meritorious awards for doing a good job commanding at their level, but valor awards?

      Come on, you know perfectly well that BDE commanders are leaders/managers who assign resources to specific tasks, as in assigning different missions and different AOR areas of responsibility to subordinate commanders.

      Their job is critical, as they frequently need to wrestle the limited available support from the higher HQ, but their essentially administrators. All the planning is done by their shops, under their guidance and commanders intent, but they just choose the course of action they think is most likely to accomplish the mission with the least expenditure of combat power.

      • Poetrooper says:

        I worked as a staff NCO in those shops at battalion and brigade level and you’re right…

      • Prior Service says:

        I can’t find the citation for Perkins’ silver star but he planned and executed the thunder runs that ended the Iraqi defense of Baghdad. Fighting was so intense around him that he was firing his M9 pistol from the back of his 113. I suggest you read up before defaulting to your “I hate officers” stance as usual. I’m not suggesting that the question of the SS for him shouldn’t be debated but when you lead with “whatever the fuck they did” and state he was faaaaar removed etc, it’s clear you are speaking from assumption and not the facts bearing on this award. By the way, this is the same brigade that had their TOC destroyed by a scud missile strike and he was basically fighting without it while they scrambled to put together minimal C2 capability. Read Thunder Run and you will change your mind.

        • ninja says:

          Prior Service:


          Sadly, this post that should have focused on SGT Holroyd’s SS ended up being a post bashing Austin and Perkins SS…which they received in 2003, 18 years ago.

          For those who were boots on the ground, directly involved in OIF in March 2003, one can understand the dynamics and Commad Climate during the days before we went into Iraq, the day we went into Iraq and the days following.

          I personaly know what took place before, during and after to include 3rd ID involvement in OIF. Austin and Perkins were given a mission, which was successful. Austin and Perkins were recommended for a SS, which their Chain of Command approved.

          And yes, I sadly agree with your assessment of “I hate officers” stance by sad considering TAH has Officers who not only comment on posts as well as contribute articles on TAH, but also donate $$$$ to keep this Blog going.

        • Slow Joe says:

          Prior Service:

          “I can’t find the citation for Perkins’ silver star but he planned and executed the thunder runs that ended the Iraqi defense of Baghdad.”

          Ok cool. How is this deserving of a valor award? Is it that hard to understand the difference between a meritorious and a valor award? I don’t doubt COL Perkins did a great job as a BDE Commander. That doesn’t mean a valor award.

          “Fighting was so intense around him that he was firing his M9 pistol from the back of his 113.”

          Ok cool. How is this deserving of a valor award? Should we all get medals every time we get in a firefight? Shit, I have been in a shitload of firefights, especially during the Surge, should I get a friggin medal for every time I fired my weapon?
          If anything I would suspect a BDE Commander that had to fire his weapon. A lot of shit has to go wrong to find a BDE Commander in the heat. But then, shit goes wrong all the time.

          ” I suggest you read up before defaulting to your “I hate officers” stance as usual. ”

          I don’t hate officers. I actually have a great CoC right now. So no. Nice strawman.

          “I’m not suggesting that the question of the SS for him shouldn’t be debated but when you lead with “whatever the fuck they did” and state he was faaaaar removed etc, it’s clear you are speaking from assumption and not the facts bearing on this award.”

          Oh pleez. You know perfectly well officers only have a chance to see real combat at the beginning of their careers, from 2LT to CPT. After that, from MAJ and up, something must have been really really fucked up for an officer to have to discharge his weapon in combat. GEN Perkins was a BDE Commander. No friggin chance in hell he was in the thick of it, even in the 2003 invasion. He fired his M9? Cool. So did every mofo around him.

          “By the way, this is the same brigade that had their TOC destroyed by a scud missile strike and he was basically fighting without it while they scrambled to put together minimal C2 capability.”

          That’s interesting. Scuds are notoriously inaccurate, especially in the hands of Iraqis. I hope 2BDE didn’t place their TOC on a known location that the enemy had pre-registered in their maps. But I ain’t here to double guess decisions made in the fog of war. We all have made shitty decisions at some point.

          “Read Thunder Run and you will change your mind.”

          I don’t have a bad opinion of GEN Perkins. He obviously did exceptionally well as BDE Commander. What I question is the cheapening of valor awards by giving them to senior officers as a meritorious award. And this is my main point.

          • Prior Service says:

            If you aren’t familiar with Perkins’ case, you are speaking from assumptions. I don’t debate most of what you say in general but generalities don’t cut it when you are applying them to a specific case. Again, a SS for him could be debated but to have an honest debate it has to set from a basis in relevant fact, not preconceived notions and assumptions. You appear unwilling to do that. Regarding your “I hate officers” stance, my opinion is formed from reading dozens of not hundreds of your comments here over time. If you don’t mean to portray that, you may need to adjust fire. My prior service time makes me actually agree with some of your other posts, but I see both sides.

            • Slow Joe says:

              Ok. Got it. You are right.

              This is me adjusting fire. I don’t hate officers for being officers. I have served with many that were great.

              What I challenge is this horribly demoralizing tradition of awarding valor awards to officers as meritorious awards.

              Doing a great job as a BDE Commander does not equal a SS.

              Those are earned by charging the enemy with complete disregard for personal safety to save the lives of fellow American Soldiers.

              Planning a great mission, killing a bunch of enemies, firing your assigned weapon in anger when facing the enemy, does not count.

              The US military does not award medals for killing the enemy. Only for saving American lives.

              If in doubt, refer to Marine Sniper Carlos N. Hathcock, Vietnam War.

              He killed hundreds of enemies, yet the day he got his SS he didn’t kill anyone, he just saved the lives of 7 American Soldiers.

              This is the standard.