Archive for February, 2006

Army Awards for Valor

Posted: 13 Feb 2006 in Politics

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Gen. John Abizaid, commander of U.S. Central Command, congratulates Staff Sgt. Matthew Blaskowski, one of several Soldiers who received awards during the recent ceremony at Kandahar Airfield. SSG Blaskowski received the Silver Star.

Two Silver Stars

The Silver Star, awarded for gallantry in action, was presented to two Rangers for actions while deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Capt. Christopher A. Molino was awarded the Silver Star while serving as the ground commander when his Soldiers were attacked. Molino was conducting combat operations when his element came under direct small arms and hand grenade fire from a determined enemy. According to the award citation, Malino’a personal courage, tactical expertise and professional competence contributed to saving the lives of wounded Rangers and the success of the task force.

Staff Sgt. David M. Edwards was awarded the Silver Star while serving as a squad leader for the task force. Edwards’ unit was conducting combat operations when his element came under an intense enemy attack. According to the citation, while under direct fire, his outstanding leadership, dedication to duty and commitment to excellence were fundamental in saving the life of a wounded Ranger and success of the task force.

“These men represent extraordinary heroism. They fought for each other, their families and to get the mission done,” said Lt. Col. John G. Castles, commander, 3rd Bn., 75th Ranger Regt. “Their actions are representative of others on this field today.

“Rangers often downplay individual actions, because nothing can be done without the entire force.”

He explained that the awardees’ actions were significant and that “fellow Rangers are standing here today because of the valorous actions of these Rangers.”

Soldier’s Medal

The Soldier’s Medal was presented to Sgt. Mark T. Alperin while serving as a mortar platoon squad leader in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. This medal is awarded for personnel who distinguish themselves by heroism involving personal danger and the voluntary risk of life, though no contact with the enemy was made. This award requires the same level of heroism as the Distinguished Flying Cross.

According to the award citation, Alperin displayed the highest degree of professionalism, sound judgment, technical and tactical knowledge and an overwhelming concern for the welfare of his Rangers. His exceptional performance and dedication to duty were contributing factors in saving a Ranger and success of the task force.

11 Bronze Stars

Bronze Star Medals for Valor were awarded to 11 Rangers for actions in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. This medal is awarded for heroic actions. Awardees were: Sgt. 1st Class Andrew T. Bristow, Sgt. Jeremiah A. Dagel, Cpt. John F. Detro, Sgt. Ian B. Hunter, 1st Lt. Ryan M. Kelly, Spc. Casey M. Loose, Staff Sgt. Joseph G. Lynch, 1st Sgt. Edward L. Noland, Staff Sgt. Michael N. Rach, Spc. Webster J. Slavens, and Staff Sgt. Jared N. Van Aalst.

Loose, a Ranger medic, said that he received this award with great esteem and honor.

“It is my privilege to have served with the caliber of men such as those in my unit,” he said. “I believe, however, that any one of my fellow Rangers would do, and have done, the very things that I received this award for.

“It is the Rangers’ constant endeavor to live the Ranger Creed and exceed the standards,” he explained. “That makes us who and what we are, especially on the battlefield.”

Detro, the battalion physician’s assistant and acting battalion surgeon, echoed the sentiments of teamwork and skill during the mission for which he and five of his medics, including Loose, received valorous awards. He said that his men used their battlefield knowledge to prepare for the mission and then competently applied their training in accordance with the plan, allowing them to effectively assist wounded Soldiers.

Ranger medics support missions on the front lines with their fellow Rangers, working together to accomplish the mission and bring everyone back.

“We would not have made it off of this objective and saved the injured men without the entire force fighting together,” Loose said.

16 ARCOMs with Valor

Sixteen Rangers received the Army Commendation Medal for Valor, awarded for a valorous act distinguished by heroism, meritorious achievement or meritorious service.

I am putting this on my blog because Doug deserves it.
He gave the ultimate sacrifice in defense of freedom.
We are all indebted to him, and many others that have given their lives in the line of duty.

MAJ Doug LaBouff Scholarship Flyer 2012

Army Maj. Douglas La Bouff, 36, La Puente; Killed in Chopper Crash
By Scott Glover, Times Staff Writer

Army Maj. Douglas La Bouff wasn’t ordered to go to Iraq; he volunteered.

That gung-ho spirit typified La Bouff, who dreamed of becoming a soldier from the time he was a boy running around his La Puente neighborhood in combat fatigues, his brother said.

“He told me he was over there to protect us from harm,” said George La Bouff, who traded e-mails with his younger brother during his deployment in Iraq. “He believed in what he was doing.”

Douglas La Bouff, 36, was killed Jan. 7 when the Black Hawk helicopter he was in crashed outside Tall Afar, west of Mosul, according to military officials. Eleven others — seven soldiers and four civilians — also died in the crash, which remains under investigation.

La Bouff, assigned to the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment at Ft. Carson, Colo., was married and had two young children. He had been scheduled to return to the United States next month.

“This is the tragic loss of a genuinely good man,” said Army Capt. Robert Medina, a longtime friend. “Everyone is finding this very hard to accept.”

La Bouff was born in Baldwin Park and reared in La Puente. He attended elementary school at St. Joseph School and served as an altar boy.

“There was a loyalty about him that was obvious,” said Msgr. Patrick Staunton, then the parish priest at St. Joseph Catholic Church. “He was a very serious-minded young man. You knew you could trust him.”

La Bouff went on to Bishop Amat Memorial High School, where he played football, served in the student senate and developed an anti-drug program for which he received a medal from Congress, according to friends and family.

Ron Woolsey, La Bouff’s history teacher during his sophomore year, said that, even as a teenager, La Bouff impressed him as “somebody who had some real leadership qualities.”

“He was a real likable kid,” Woolsey added.

After graduation, La Bouff went to Whittier College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history in 1992. He then earned a master’s in the same subject from Cal State Fullerton, where he enrolled in the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program. He joined the Army in 1995, doing two tours of duty in South Korea.

Last year, a colonel he knew asked him to accompany him to Iraq to serve as his top intelligence officer, friends and family said. Though the informal request did not compel him to go, La Bouff agreed to do so.

Medina said La Bouff put off his desire to pursue a teaching post at the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“He did this out of selflessness,” Medina said. “He wanted to make a contribution where it mattered the most.”

George La Bouff, a Long Beach resident, said his brother, who stood 6 feet tall and spoke with a deep voice, was a devout Catholic and deeply principled.

“He was the type of person who, if he did not believe in the mission that we’re doing in Iraq, he would not have volunteered to go,” he said. “His brothers and sisters are very proud of him.”

Douglas La Bouff lived with his wife and children in Colorado Springs, Colo. He moved his mother in with the family after his father died so she wouldn’t be lonely and could be close to her grandchildren, Medina said.

La Bouff’s wife, Karen, declined to talk to reporters. Through Medina, she said: “He was a devoted father, a perfect husband.”

La Bouff also is survived by two other brothers, a sister and 12 nieces and nephews.


Doug was my last Platoon Leader. He came to E Troop, 2nd Squadron 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in 1997. He was given the 3rd platoon, which I was the Platoon Sergeant.

Doug was a 1st Lieutenant when we met. He was a Military Intelligence Officer assigned to an Infantry platoon. This made it rather odd. This was done because the Regiment was short on officers.

Doug and I got off to a great start in our relationship as Platoon Leader and Platoon Sergeant. I had the benefit of having a 1LT, which means he has some experience in the Army, but I also had the good fortune to have a man that was willing to learn the ways of the Infantry by listening to his PSG. He was like a sponge!

After being together for over a year in 3rd Platoon, I moved up to the Regimental HQ due to a back injury.
We stayed in touch, which for me was easy to do.
He moved back into a MI job as the Regimental Support Squadron S-2.

After I retired in 2001, Doug and I remained close friends through the years. In fact he was my son’s Godfather.

We spent time together on a few occasions when he came home on leave, his family and mine. We enjoyed each other’s company immensly.

I am a better man for having known Doug and thank God that he blessed me with his friendship.

He is survived by his wife, Karen, and their two children, Cassidy and Doug Jr.

You will never be forgotten my friend.
Your sacrifice for this nation is the highest price one can pay for the freedoms that we all enjoy.
May God bless his family and keep Doug by His side.