Retired soldier gets Silver Star in Drum ceremony

Sgt. Adam Holroyd, right, is presented with the Silver Star on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of U.S. Army

FORT DRUM — Retired Sgt. Adam Holroyd is credited with repeatedly putting himself in harm’s way to ensure the safety of other Fort Drum soldiers during a coordinated enemy attack in Afghanistan in August 2009.

And now the retired sergeant — who was a member of the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division — received the Silver Star during a ceremony on Wednesday at Fort Drum.

According to official records, anti-Afghan forces initiated an attack on the battalion headquarters in the Nuristan Province, Afghanistan, with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades on Aug. 10, 2009.

The retired sergeant rushed through enemy fields of fire to evacuate a wounded Joint Task Force medic, and then he provided guidance to those around him to fend off the enemy attack, according to the Army.

But the retired sniper team leader downplayed getting the award, saying it belongs to a long list of people who helped develop him as a soldier.

He thanked them for the help he got along the way, with many of them in attendance at the ceremony.

“This award is and has always been larger than just me,” he said. “It is a marker in time for the valorous actions executed faithfully by members of the Chosin battalion during the global war on terrorism,” he said.

Lt. Col. Scott Horrigan, a former infantry commander from the 32nd Regiment, described what the deployment was like for soldiers of the Task Force Chosin and the battles they fought in a district center in northern Nuristan during the early summer of 2009.

“They did not realize over the months forthcoming that they would be asked to fight in cornrows right outside the district center, they did not know they would be asked to fight inside the wood huts of the district center and they did not know they would be asked to extend that fight into the mountains outside,” Mr. Horrigan said. “To describe that terrain as anything less than extreme would be an understatement.”

As the situation intensified on that August day, an ammunition supply point caught fire. But Mr. Holroyd again repeatedly moved through enemy fire to retrieve water to help extinguish the fire. At the same time, he warned others not to assist him, knowing the likelihood of their injury or death was high.

Mr. Holroyd then grabbed an M2 machine gun to suppress enemy positions and draw their attention away from the ammunition supply point.

With his quick action, Mr. Holroyd led the process of extracting the cases with armed rounds of rocket-propelled grenades out of the supply point, allowing more soldiers to move back to the compound to provide support.

As a result, the battalion headquarters retained its position and it maintained the safety of coalition soldiers.

Mr. Horrigan described the Chosin soldiers as a family with a special bond.

“Sgt. Holroyd helped teach me this lesson and helped fuse that as part of my professional DNA,” he said. “Sgt. Holroyd embodies everything that is great about the 10th Mountain Division. He’s a tough soldier, a great leader, and he is someone who will absolutely do what is right whenever he is asked.”

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