Ahoskie soldier earns Silver Star

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 31, 2006

JACKSONVILLE – Sgt. 1st. Class Chad M. Stephens of Ahoskie was awarded the Silver Star for his brave actions in Iraq.

The ceremony was held Oct. 22 at the National Guard Armory in Jacksonville.

A Platoon Sergeant with Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 120th Infantry, Stephens earned the medal for his actions in Baqubah, Iraq supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom on June 24, 2004.

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Stephens’ citation describes the action. “During Combat operations against an armed enemy of the United States, Sgt. 1st Class Stephens heroically and without regard for his personal safety, led his platoon in heavy combat with enemy attempting to control the city. After fighting through two ambushes, he led his platoon to a casualty collection point to treat the wounded. To evacuate the gunner of his wingman, Sgt. 1st Class Stephens crossed 50 meters in open terrain while small arms impacted all around him as he ran. He mounted the turret and pulled his soldier out of the hatch, then lowered him to the waiting medics as rounds impacted the vehicle and other soldiers drove to safety. He returned to his vehicle under continuing fire, reorganized the platoon and led the move to Forward Operating Base Gabe, fighting on as his Bradley was hit by a rocket propelled grenade and his gunner was severely wounded. Sergeant 1st Class Stephens’ courage under fire is in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflects great credit upon himself, the 30th Brigade and the United States Army National Guard.”

The Silver Star Medal is awarded to a person who, while serving in any capacity with the U.S. Army, is cited for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party. The required gallantry, while of a lesser degree than that required for award of the Distinguished Service Cross, must nevertheless have been performed with marked distinction.

Sgt. 1st Class Stephens, a native of Como, is a full-time member of the North Carolina National Guard assigned to the 120th Infantry in Jacksonville.

He is the son of George Stephens and the late Gloria Boone and the step-son of Maggie Stephens.

Stephens and his wife, Rosalie, are the parents of two sons, Raekwon and Chad Jr., and one daughter, Sasikia.