Written by Thomas Geiser
Some matters are not political as they transcend party lines and illicit admiration and respect from all Americans. It’s an honor to write about one such matter from just last week.
EOD Chief Matt O’Connor has been awarded the Silver Star at Naval Base Point Loma for his acts of valor when his team came under fire in an enemy-occupied village in Iraq. When his teammate was wounded and under enemy fire, O’Connor charged forward with complete disregard for his own safety, dragging his brother in arms back to safety.
Once behind cover, he administered life-saving medical treatment to his teammate. Chief O’Connor did this not once, but twice. His acts of heroism saved the lives of two of his fellow soldiers and he should feel overwhelming pride for his actions. All of San Diego ought to be very proud of the bravery and selflessness displayed by our soldier.
The Silver Star is the third-highest award the Navy can confer for acts of bravery in combat. The medal was presented by Vice Admiral Scott Conn, who said in a statement, “Chief O’Connor’s courageous actions last April illustrate the combat-credible sailors we have in the U.S. Navy, he displayed extreme courage and toughness under fire in protecting his teammates and ensuring their safety. I would be hard-pressed to find a stronger example of honor, courage and commitment than EODC O’Connor.”
O’Connor made a remark after the ceremony, saying “I am honored to receive the Silver Star and appreciate the recognition; however, I want people to know that it took a whole group of guys to ensure everyone returned safely, I was not the only one out there, and this is reflective of a team effort.”
O’Connor’s response to receiving this medal shows just what an excellent soldier he is—an exemplar of both bravery and humility.