Green Beret Unit Receives 27 Valor Medals After Afghanistan Deployment

7th Special Forces Group soldier receives award.
Col. Steven M. Marks, deputy commander, 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne) awards a Soldier from 2nd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) in recognition of valorous acts during the Battalion’s recent deployment in support of Operation Resolute Support. (Photo by Spc.Vargas, Jose)

A group of Special Forces soldiers earned dozens of prestigious medals -- including three Silver Stars, during a recent deployment to Afghanistan.

The soldiers, assigned to 2nd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), received the valor awards during a ceremony at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, on Thursday, according to an Army news release.

In addition to the Silver Stars, soldiers earned seven Bronze Star medals with combat "V" device and 17 Army Commendation medals with "V."

Stars and Stripes reported that the unit also earned 21 Purple Hearts, awarded to troops who sustain wounds in combat, and that four Green Berets not present at the ceremony earned a total of two Bronze Stars and two Army Commendations, bringing the total medal count to more than 50.

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"The valor we are recognizing today happened at the most tactical level -- face to face fighting, close quarters combat, hand grenade range," Col. Steven Marks, deputy commander of 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne), said in a statement. "This is a reminder that even in the modern age, warfare is still about courage under fire, having the mental sharpness to operate with expertise in the worst of times and taking action to protect your brother, your team and your partners."

Little additional information was made public about the actions for which soldiers earned valor awards during the six-month deployment.

Another 7th SFG unit, 1st Battalion, 7th SFG, is currently deployed to Afghanistan. On Dec. 23, one of the unit's soldiers, Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Goble, 33, succumbed to combat injuries sustained in Afghanistan's Kunduz province, in the deadliest year for the U.S. military in Afghanistan since 2015.

In the release, military officials described the deployment of 2nd Battalion, 7th SFG, as taking place during "a challenging period."

As the unit leading Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan, the Green Berets "stabilized the security situation throughout the country prior to Afghan parliamentary elections and set conditions to advance a negotiated peace with the Taliban," officials said.

Those peace talks continue, with the Taliban agreeing Dec. 29 to a cease-fire that would allow a peace agreement to be signed.

"As a witness on the ground during this time, I can speak for the incredible progress over a six-month period these brave men achieved to bring stability to an unstable nation," Marks said in his statement.

Officials credited the soldiers' actions with preventing the enemy from capturing any territory held by local Afghan governments, "a feat which had not been accomplished in several years.

While deployed, they worked with other units, including elements from 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) and 717th Ordinance Company out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, the release said.

-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.

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