By Lex, Posted on February 24, 2007
Meet Private First Class Steven Sanford, lately of the 1/172 (Stryker BCT). The Chairman awarded him the nation’s second highest military honor – the Distinguished Service Cross – for heroism during combat operations in Mosul, 2005:
“I did what I was supposed to do,” he said. “I did what I was trained to do, and every one else there did the same.”
On Nov. 19, 2005, Sanford was part of a group of about 15 soldiers from the Stryker brigade that attacked a three-story house in Mosul. The platoon had received reports that snipers were using the house to take shots at Iraqi police officers and American soldiers. The house turned out to be an insurgent explosives factory and the soldiers took heavy fire with some becoming trapped inside. Even though he was shot in the leg during the initial raid, Sanford went back into the building to help get the rest of the U.S. soldiers out, some of whom were seriously injured.
One Stryker soldier, Pvt. Christopher Alcozer, was shot in the neck during the evacuation. Sanford rushed to his side and began performing CPR. While he was helping Alcozer, Sanford was shot twice in the back. He returned fire, killing an insurgent, but also taking two more bullets. Even though Sanford was wounded, he continued to help Alcozer until collapsing from blood loss.
Alcozer died that day; Sanford started a long recovery.