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A Solemn Thanks to American Vets

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In honor of Veteran's Day, I wanted to share with you all a quick story on a Soldier's valor to help us all remember the heroism and sacrifice our armed forces display each and every day on the job:

On Sept. 24, 2008, Staff Sgt. Christopher Upp, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, was awarded the Silver Star for actions on July 31, 2007 in Chowkay Valley, Afghanistan.

While at Vehicle Patrol Base Seray, an incoming mortar round struck the bases mortar pit, killing the platoon leader and initiating an attack. Staff Sgt. Upp led a small group through machine gun and rocket propelled grenade (RPG) fire towards the mortar position.

The incoming fire knocked them to the ground several times. When they reached the 120-mm mortar, an incoming RPG damaged the tripod and shrapnel tore a large gash in Staff Sgt. Upps left arm. With the mortars support legs damaged, Staff Sgt. Upp used his hands -- and when the tube got too hot, his back -- to guide return fire. Through heavy fighting, he fired 75 rounds at the attacking enemy and significantly contributed to the successful defense of the patrol base.

I've been honored to witness acts like this in my many days and months covering the armed forces as a reporter. Thank you for all of the great times and endearing memories.

-- Christian

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