The U.S. Army announced recently that a 173rd Airborne Brigade officer will receive the nation's second highest award for valor posthumously for his bravery against a March 27, 2007 enemy attack in Saret Koleh, Afghanistan.
On March 1, Maj. Thomas Gordon Bostick will receive the Distinguished Service Cross -- an upgrade from the posthumous Silver Star he was awarded for "sacrificing his life" to protect his soldiers from 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment during a vicious enemy ambush in the mountains of Afghanistan, according to a recent news release from the 173rd Airborne.
Bostick, who was then a captain, commanded Bulldog Troop when the unit came under heavy enemy fire during Operation Ghwar.
"Maj. Bostick, while in command of B Troop, 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry (Airborne), and without regard to his own personal safety, placed himself in front of an overwhelming enemy force to provide covering fire to enable the paratroopers in his command post to displace to more defensible terrain," Bostick's Silver Star citation states.
"He willingly sacrificed his life so they could live. Maj. Bostick positioned himself directly between those soldiers [from his command post] and the enemy, shielding them from the rounds while firing his personal weapon to cover their move. During this action, his position was engaged with overwhelming small arms and rocket propelled grenade fire that took his life."
Bostick's actions gave the soldiers in the small element the time they needed to "gain their footing and negotiate the steep terrain in order to seek cover and survive the attack," the release states.
"Maj. Bostick's quick decisions to reposition forces, expert use of close air support and indirect fire, and final sacrifice to provide covering fire for his command post enabled B Troop to break the enemy attack inflicting severe punishment on a numerically superior enemy force," according to the release.
Bostick will become the 16th soldier, and only the third Army officer, to earn the Distinguished Service Cross for actions during Operation Enduring Freedom, the release states.
Before joining the 173rd, Bostick was a member of the 75th Ranger Regiment and jumped into Panama during Operation Just Cause as an enlisted soldier, the release states. He later earned his commission and became a platoon leader in Ranger Regiment's 3rd Battalion and deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Bostick assumed command of Bulldog Troop during the 173rd Brigade's 2007 deployment to Afghanistan. His many commendations include a Bronze Star with oak leaf clusters and the Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf clusters, the release states.
Since Bostick's death, the 173rd has honored "the legacy of this brave warfighter and challenge its soldiers to live up to his legacy of heroism," according to the release. Last year, 1/91 Cavalry Regiment created the "Bostick Cup" to honor company-sized units that demonstrate outstanding performance.
The Distinguished Service Cross award ceremony for Bostick will take place at 2 p.m. at Founders Plaza in Fort Carson, Colorado. In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be in the 4th Infantry Division Headquarters.
-- Matthew Cox can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.