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Michael Z. Clayton


Soldier's Medal

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The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 2, 1926, takes pleasure in presenting the Soldier's Medal to Sergeant First Class Michael Z. Clayton, United States Army, for heroism on 15 February 2010 while participating in Operation UNIFIED RESPONSE. Sergeant First Class Clayton directly took part in recovery operations in Cap Hatten, Haiti, in an attempt to rescue four children who had been trapped in a landslide that destroyed the back portion of an elementary school and engulfed a classroom. Throughout the four-hour operation, conducted in high heat and cramped conditions inside the school, all the while dirt and rocks continued to fall from the hillside, with complete disregard for his own personal safety, SFC Clayton placed himself in the hazard zone and rotated with other U.S. military personnel to dig out the children who had been buried in the mud and rocks of the landslide. SFC Clayton remained at work digging for the children even after a second landslide occurred, which buried one of the children, and caused many of the local firemen to refuse to continue to work due to the continued danger of another landslide. Sergeant First Class Clayton's selfless and heroic actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, United States Army Special Operations Command, and the United States Army.

Action Date: February 15, 2010

Service: Army

Rank: Sergeant First Class