SILVERDALE, Wash. -- A Navy officer was awarded the Bronze Star with Combat "V" for valorous action during Operation Enduring Freedom in a ceremony at Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 11 Detachment Bangor, Aug. 30.
Lt. j.g. Dominic R. Frank was cited May 22 for exceptionally valorous conduct as the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Officer in Charge for Operational Detachment Alpha-3336 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom on Jan. 28, 2010. He distinguished himself by supporting the operational detachment alpha with his steadfast courage and professionalism.
The Bronze Star Medal is awarded to an individual who, while serving in or with the military of the United States, distinguishes him or herself by heroic or meritorious achievement while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States or while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force.
Rear Adm. Mark Rich, commander, Navy Region Northwest presented the medal.
"Lt. j.g. Frank is an example of courage and service to everyone in our region, and represents the best our Navy and Nation have to offer," said Rich.
"It's kind of bitter sweet," said Frank after receiving the award. "I mean this was a very bad day where a lot of guys out there did the right thing, like one of the medics who got wounded out there and got a Silver Star. He took a [bullet] in his shoulder and as he was bleeding he was still treating guys on their way to the bird."
On Jan. 28, 2010, the 1st Company, 6th Commandos and Operational Detachment-Alpha 3336 conducted an air assault onto objective Lincoln in the Lak Shar Ghar village, Nadi Ali district to clear a series of compounds suspected of housing enemies of Afghan leaders.
Due to the high number of pressure-plate improvised explosive devices (IED), Frank put himself in front of the assault force and cleared a path from the insertion point up to the target compound using his metal detector and mine probe. Frank commanded his EOD element through sensitive site exploitation and cleared all four compounds of explosive threats.
As one of the Operational Detachment-Alpha medics was wounded and the other treated Commandos, Frank took command of the treatment of an Air Force Combat Controller who received a gunshot wound and fell 14 feet from a rooftop.
"Initial shock, the first thirty seconds, it's a blur," said Frank. "Then as you actually pull down and take a step back, you'll be amazed how you react, and you know, I think it all goes back to the training. Even the most mundane, menial tasks we train on help out there."
Exposing himself to a barrage of enemy fire, Frank led the stretcher teams out of the safety of the compound and to the helicopter landing zone. He provided immeasurable support to the Operational Detachment-Alpha and engaged the enemy in 270-degree battle with complete disregard for his own personal safety.
"To be honest, I was more concerned about my guys' well-being and making sure they were safe than I was returning fire to the enemy," said Frank.
Frank attributed his achievements much to the efforts of his team and said he felt lucky to be alive.
"It's like, I feel good that I got the award but at the same time not," said Frank. "I got this award just supporting my guys and I'm just glad I made it out of that one."
A native of East Liverpool, Ohio, Frank joined the Navy in 1995. Currently, he is serving as EODMU 11 shore-based Detachment Bangor OIC responsible for EOD strategic weapon, IED, surface, chemical, biological, radiological, and underwater response for Navy Region Northwest.