Canada honors Fort Bragg soldiers for assist
Posted May 23, 2012 11:14 a.m. EDT
Updated May 23, 2012 6:58 p.m. EDT
Fort Bragg, N.C. — A Fort Bragg battalion was honored Wednesday by the Canadian government in a first-ever international ceremony. Lt. Gen. Stuart Beare, commander of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, will present the Canadian Commander-in-Chief Unit Commendation to 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group for its role in a September 2006 battle in Afghanistan's Kandahar Province. It is the first time the award has been given to a non-Canadian unit.
"Canada and the United States have a long and distinguished history working together in battlefields far and abroad fighting terrorism and tyranny," Beare said in remarks Wednesday.
Members of the battalion assisted Canadian forces in an attack on an insurgent stronghold in the district of Panjwai, west of Kandahar.
The Fort Bragg Special Forces stared down a much larger enemy force over days of intense fighting to protect Canadian soldiers and hold their position.
"There was nothing but fire and smoke and bombs being dropped all over the place," recalled Canadian Lt. Col. Mel Smith.
The battle, code named Operation Medusa, is chronicled in the book "Lions of Kandahar." Over nine days, the group killed more than 500 enemy fighters, a success that paved the way for Afghan Security Forces to establish a presence in the area.
Commanders say the operation saved two villages from the Taliban and prevented the fall of Kandahar.
"You have served your nation, and you have served each other heroically. Thank you, thank you, thank you," Beare said.