Kentucky Guardsman receives Silver Star for actions in Afghanistan

Story by Capt. Stephen Martin, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

Silver Star Presentation

Capt. Shannon Ison received the Silver Star for his actions in Afghanistan while deployed with Task Force Workhorse in 2008. Here Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, adjutant general of Kentucky, presents Ison his medal during the Kentucky National Guard’s annual Leadership Development Program, before more than 1,200 Soldiers and Airmen at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville, Feb. 10. (photo by Airman Basic Joshua L. Horton, 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — “The President of the United States of America, authorized by act of Congress, July 9, 1918, has awarded the Silver Star to 1st Lt. Shannon D. Ison, 206th Engineer Battalion, for gallantry in action on Aug. 16, 2008, during combat operations against an armed enemy of the United States…” reads the citation from the ceremony at the Galt House in Louisville yesterday.

Before a crowd of more than 1,200 Kentucky Guard Soldiers and Airmen, Capt. Shannon Ison was awarded the Silver Star by Maj. Gen. Edward Tonini, adjutant general of Kentucky, as the star was pinned to Ison’s Army Combat Uniform.

To view all photos from this event, please click HERE.

“Capt. Ison’s actions on this day were heroic and beyond the call of duty,” said Col. Mike Ferguson, Ison’s battalion commander during his deployment. “He was under extreme pressure and did what he knew he had to do.”

Silver Star: Capt. Shannon Ison

‘Afghanistanc, 2008 — Capt. Shannon Ison in one of the vehicles he was responsible for during his convoys, an MRAP or Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle. Ison received the Silver Star for his actions while deployed with Task Force Workhorse in 2008. (photo submitted)

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the Kentucky National Guard has deployed more than 15,000 Soldiers and Airmen. The organization itself is only 8,500 strong, which shows multiple deployments from many of the troops away from their friends and family. Of these 15,000 troops deployed, only four have received the Silver Star, the military’s third highest award, and one Soldier the Distinguished Service Cross, which is second only to the Medal of Honor.

As important as this event seemed, Ison expressed modesty regarding his role.

“I don’t think I deserve this award, I was just doing my job,” said Ison. “We all pulled together to protect each other and to get out of there alive.”

Capt. Ison had several Soldiers in attendance that were with him on that mission and they reflected not only on his quick thinking at the time but on his humility as well.

“Honestly, Capt. Ison would probably have preferred receiving the medal in the mail if even at all,” joked Staff Sgt. Anthony Hughes, one of Ison’s non-commissioned officers that served alongside him during the incident. “He’s really a humble guy and a great officer.”
______________________________________________________________________
OFFICIAL AWARDS CITATION:

“THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, AUTHORIZED BY ACT OF CONGRESS, 9 JULY 1918 , HAS AWARDED THE SILVER STAR TO FIRST LIEUTENANT SHANNON D. ISON, 206TH ENGINEER BATTALION, FOR GALLANTRY IN ACTION ON 16 AUGUST 2008, DURING COMBAT OPERATIONS AGAINST AN ARMED ENEMY OF THE UNITED STATES, AS PLATOON LEADER, COMPANY A, 206TH ENGINEER BATTALION, IN SUPPORT OF OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM.  FIRST LIEUTENANT ISON WAS RESPONDING TO A VEHICLE THAT HAD STRUCK AN IMPROVISED EXPLOSIVE DEVICE.  WHILE ENEMY FIRE WAS IMPACTING THE BURNING VEHICLE AND AROUND HIS OWN, HE LEFT THE SAFETY OF HIS COVER AND RAN TO PULL THE WOUNDED FROM THE DESTROYED TRUCK.  WHILE HE WAS MOVING THE WOUNDED UNDER ENEMY SMALL ARMS FIRE, A ROCKET PROPELLED GRENADE LANDED NEAR THE SOLDIERS, FURTHER WOUNDING ONE OF THEM.  FIRST LIEUTENANT ISON APPLIED MEDICAL CARE TO THE INJURED MAN AND THEN LED HIS PLATOON IN FIRING ON THE ENEMY POSITIONS.  WITHOUT THE COURAGEOUS ACTS FOR FIRST LIEUTENANT ISON, SEVERAL LIVES WOULD HAVE BEEN LOST.  FIRST LIEUTENANT ISON’S DISTINCTIVE ACCOMPLISHMENTS ARE IN KEEPING WITH THE FINEST TRADITIONS OF MILITARY SERVICE AND REFLECT GREAT CREDIT UPON HIMSELF, THE 206TH ENGINEER BATTALION, AND THE UNITED STATES ARMY.  GIVEN UNDER MY HAND IN THE CITY OF WASHINGTON, THIS 19TH DAY OF JULY, 2012, JOHN MCHUGH, SECRETARY OF THE ARMY.”
_______________________________________________________________________

MEDIA COVERAGE OF SUNDAY’S EVENT:

Louisville Courier-Journal

Lexington Herald-Leader

WHAS-11

WLKY

Fox 41

Wave 3

About kentuckyguard