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Fallen medic receives Silver Star for heroism under fire

Feb. 7, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
Spc. Shannon Chihuahua is survived by his wife, Kristen, and two daughters.
Spc. Shannon Chihuahua is survived by his wife, Kristen, and two daughters. (Chihuahua family)
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An Army medic who ran through a barrage of enemy fire to reach his wounded fellow soldiers was posthumously awarded the Silver Star during a ceremony Friday at Fort Campbell, Ky.

Spc. Shannon Chihuahua, 25, was killed Nov. 12, 2010. The Silver Star, the nation’s third highest award for valor, was presented to his family.

Brig. Gen. Mark Stammer, the acting senior commander of Fort Campbell, presided over the ceremony.

Chihuahua was assigned to 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division.

On Nov. 12, 2010, soldiers from the battalion’s 3rd Platoon, D Company, were tasked with setting a blocking position in the Watapur Valley in Afghanistan’s Kunar province, according to information from the 101st Airborne Division.

After setting up their overwatch position, the soldiers came under a complex enemy attack, according to information from the 101st Airborne.

Using small-arms and machine-gun fire and rocket-propelled grenades, the enemy tried to overrun the platoon’s position, according to an account of the battle by Sgt. Kevin Garrison.

Garrison, who was a squad leader on the ground that day, shared his story with a member of the public affairs team for 1st BCT three months after the attack.

The enemy fighters had crawled up the mountainous terrain and were bounding up to the soldiers’ position, Garrison said in his account.

The soldiers were taking fire from three or four directions, Garrison said, and the rough terrain stopped them from moving effectively.

Several soldiers were wounded almost immediately, according to information from the 101st Airborne.

Chihuahua “left the safety of his position and ran through heavy machine gun fire to attend to his fellow soldiers’ wounds,” according to the information provided by the 101st Airborne.

Under heavy fire, Chihuahua moved from soldier to soldier and continued to render medical care.

“Advancing on the platoon’s position, the enemy began massing fire on Spc. Chihuahua’s position,” according to the information from the division. “Despite the heavy incoming enemy fire, he made his final move as a combat medic to yet another wounded soldier.”

A “barrage of RPG fire” fatally wounded Chihuahua.

His actions are credited with directly saving the lives of “several” soldiers.

Chihuahua’s fellow soldiers described him as a professional who always went out of his way to hone his medical skills, seek extra training and help the Afghans, according to the 101st.

The engagement on Nov. 12, 2010, wasn’t the first time Chihuahua showed his courage under fire, according to the division.

He had already received the Combat Medical Badge, which is earned for actions performed under fire, and he was wounded in action three months before his death and awarded the Purple Heart.

Chihuahua, of Thomasville, Ga., enlisted in the Army in July 2008.

He is survived by his wife, Kristen, and two daughters. Chihuahua also is survived by his parents, two sisters and two brothers.■

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