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Rodney J. Harris


Soldier's Medal

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Awarded for actions during the Global War on Terror

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 Rodney J. Harris, United States Army, for heroic service during battle-damaged vehicle recovery operations on 8 August 2010. Sergeant First Class Harris' hard work, dedication to duty, attention to detail, and selfless service greatly contributed to the successful accomplishment of the unit's mission averting potential disaster and harm to fellow soldiers in the process. His actions are in keeping with the finest of military traditions and reflect great credit upon himself, Ghostrider Company, 3d Squadron, 2d Stryker Cavalry Regiment and the United States Army. NARRATIVE TO ACCOMPANY AWARD: On 8 August 2010, Sergeant First Class Harris showed unparalleled selfless service beyond the call of duty when he placed himself in mortal danger to ensure the safety of his fellow soldiers. Sergeant First Class Harris led an effort to remove ammunition and sensitive items from a burning Stryker Infantry Carrier Variant that was battle damaged by an IED. He showed expert poise and quick judgment as he worked to extinguish a fire that threatened to destroy dangerous munitions, sensitive items, and the vehicle itself. Sergeant First Class Harris' valorous and intrepid actions placed him mere inches from a raging fire that consumed ammunition boxes of 7.62-mm. ammunition and 40-mm. grenade cartridges that could have exploded at any moment. 3d Platoon of G Company, 3d Squadron, 2d Stryker Cavalry regiment reported striking an IED with their G33 vehicle on 8 April 2010. When first informed of the IED strike, Sergeant First Class Harris moved directly to the Company Command Post. Sergeant First Class Harris worked with the Battle Captain to ensure that the Quick Reaction Force, the Medical Evacuation Vehicle, and wrecker assets were dispatched in the quickest manner possible. Once the wrecker and escort returned to COP Azi Zullah, Sergeant First Class Harris noticed the damaged ICV was smoking. Immediately Sergeant First Class Harris diverted the wrecker towing the damaged vehicle to an area away from the COP billeting area in order to protect Soldiers. Sergeant First Class Harris led the Combat Repair Team in unhooking the wrecker from the smoldering vehicle. Sergeant First Class Harris, one again, placed the safety of his comrades above his own. Once the wrecker and friendly personnel were safely detached and away from the vehicle, Sergeant First Class Harris entered the now burning vehicle. A quick and accurate evaluation yielded the conclusion that there was an electrical fire in the vehicle and it would be difficult to put out. However, Sergeant First Class Harris leapt into action by utilizing two fire extinguishers in an attempt to subdue the fire. All this time, Sergeant First Class Harris was aware that the top of the vehicle was loaded with multiple cans of 7.62-mm. machine gun rounds and 40-mm. grenade canisters. When the intensity of the fire proved too much for the fire extinguishers, Sergeant First Class Harris, aided by another Soldier, removed an M240B and all of the 7.62 ammunition. He ensured that the ammunition did not cook off in the direction of friendly forces. Sergeant First Class Harris then attempted to remove the 40-mm. grenade canisters from the vehicle. The intensity and close proximity of the fire hampered his efforts. He moved quickly to the mounted MK-19 grenade launcher, elevated the weapon, and turned it away from the direction of friendly forces on COP Azi Zullah. After doing so, Sergeant First Class Harris personally trooped the line to ensure all Soldiers sought protection. Minutes later, 40-mm. grenade rounds began exploding atop the burning vehicle. Sergeant First Class Harris' dedication to the protection of other Soldiers placed him in imminent danger of death. His actions proved his selfless character. Sergeant First Class Harris' gallant actions alone can be directly attributed to the safety of the Soldiers. For these actions, Sergeant First Class Rodney J. Harris is nominated for the Soldier's Medal.

Action Date: August 8, 2010

Service: Army

Rank: Sergeant First Class

Army Commendation Medal

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Awarded for actions during the Global War on Terror

The Secretary of the Army of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting Army Commendation Medal with Combat "V" to Staff Sergeant Rodney J. Harris, United States Army, for exceptionally valorous achievement while assigned as a vehicle commander on 20 September 2007 during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. Staff Sergeant Harris' heroic actions, tremendous leadership, and personal dedication greatly contributed to combat operations during the War on Terrorism. His actions reflect distinct credit on him, the Multi-National Division-Baghdad, and the United States Army.

Action Date: September 20, 2007

Service: Army

Rank: Staff Sergeant

Company: Ghostrider Company

Battalion: 3d Squadron

Regiment: 2 SCR

Division: 4th Infantry Division