President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of
Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by an act of July 25, 1963), takes
pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Staff Sergeant Michael T.
Blout, United States Air Force, for gallantry in connection with
military operations against an enemy of the United States at Wardak
Province, Afghanistan, on 23 October 2012. On that day, Sergeant Blout
served as the primary Joint Terminal Attack Controller assigned to an
Army Special Forces Team. While conducting operation AMAL KARD SYGANA
II, Sergeant Blout received radio traffic indicating an Army Special
Forces teammate required immediate medical attention after sustaining
wounds form an enemy ambush. Reacting instinctively, Sergeant Blout
sprinted 1.6 kilometers towards the sounds of enemy fire to assist his
wounded comrade. Coordinating with aircraft orbiting overhead, Sergeant
Blout ascertained the location of wounded personnel and directed
friendly maneuver elements to converge in support. Sergeant Blout
simultaneously used air assets to monitor and track enemy movements.
Arriving at the scene of the ambushed friendly element, Sergeant Blout
raced across open ground while under direct and accurate enemy fire,
placing himself between his wounded teammate and the enemy in order to
return fire and protect his fallen comrade and the medic furiously
working to save his life. While exchanging direct fire with the enemy,
Sergeant Blout orchestrated close air support to keep the enemy at bay
and coordinated for the arrival of medical evacuation assets. Hearing
the rotor blades of incoming evacuation helicopters, Sergeant Blout
marked an impromptu landing zone while still under heavy enemy fire,
and aborted the first landing attempt due to the volume and accuracy of
insurgent small arms and machine gun fire. Without regard for his own
safety, Sergeant Blout placed himself between the landing zone and the
enemy and urged his teammates forward, screening the landing and
enabling the evacuation of friendly forces. As medical evacuation
assets departed, Sergeant Blout immediately directed attack helicopter
strafing runs against the enemy positions while friendly forces
reconsolidated and retrograded back to covered and concealed positions.
Sergeant Blout's courageous and decisive action at the hasty helicopter
landing zone against superior firepower was directly responsible for
rallying the quick reaction force, and preventing friendly maneuver
elements from being overrun. His heroism under withering enemy fire
disrupted attacking enemy forces, and prevented the sue loss of
coalition air assets. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Sergeant
Blout has reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air
USAF Combat Controllers Portraits in Courage
Special Tactics Airmen earn Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Combat Action Medal
Lt. Gen. Eric Fiel, Air Force Special Operations Command commander,
speaks to the families of medal recipients in a ceremony at the 23rd
Special Tactics Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Fla. Mar 14, 2014. Fiel
thanked the families for the support they have given to members during
their many deployments. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Victoria Sneed)
by 1st Lt. Jerred Moon
24th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
3/14/2014 - HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- Four
Special Tactics Airmen from Air Force Special Operations Command were
recognized with medals for actions downrange in a ceremony at Hurlburt
Field, Fla., March 14 2014
Tech Sgt. Michael Blout, a Combat Controller, earned the Silver Star Medal;
Staff Sgt. Stephan Merlics, a tactical air control party member, earned
the Bronze Star with Valor; Airman 1st Class Philip Armstrong, a
Special Tactics pararescueman received the Purple Heart Medal and
Senior Airman Nathan Wright, a Combat Controller, earned the Combat
Action Medal. All four Airmen are assigned to the 23rd Special Tactics
Squadron at Hurlburt Field.
"In AFSOC we are all about deploying," said AFSOC commander Lt. Gen.
Eric Fiel. "Every day we train to fight and these guys are responsible
to protect our families; our sons and daughters. It's amazing."
Lt. Gen. Eric Fiel, Air Force Special Operations Command commander,
pins a Silver Star medal on the lapel of Tech. Sgt. Michael Blout at
the 23rd Special Tatics Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Fla., March 14, 2014.
Blout distinguished himself by using his own body as a shield for a
wounded team member as he called in air support on a deployment in
Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Victoria Sneed)
was presented the Silver Star, the nation's third highest combat
military decoration, for gallantry in action against an enemy of the
U.S. in Wardak Province, Afghanistan, October 2012.
When he received radio traffic indicating an Army Special Forces
teammate required immediate medical attention after sustaining wounds
from an enemy ambush, Blout sprinted one mile toward the sound of enemy
fire to assist his comrade.
While exchanging direct fire with the enemy, he orchestrated close air
support to keep the enemy at bay and coordinated for the arrival of
medical evacuation aircraft.
Blout then placed himself between the landing zone and the enemy and
urged his teammates forward, screening the landing and enabling the
evacuation of friendly forces.
Merlics received the Bronze Star with Valor, the nation's fourth
highest combat military decoration, for heroism in action against an
enemy of the U.S. in Afghanistan, from September 2012 to March 2013.
He conducted 48 combat missions with partnered Afghan forces and
controlled 263 attack, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance
His bravery was displayed during a reconnaissance patrol when his team
came under direct fire from fortified enemy positions. Disregarding the
danger he left cover in order to positively identify enemy positions.
As Merlics was shot at he returned fire on the enemy while
simultaneously coordinating medical evacuation assets and directing air
strikes onto enemy positions.
Armstrong was presented the Purple Heart, the nation's oldest military authorization, for wounds received in action, May 2013.
Wright was also presented the Air Force Combat Action Medal for active
participation in combat, having been under direct and hostile fire or
physically engaging hostile forces with direct lethal fire.
"This is a great opportunity for us to recognize our Special Tactics
Airmen and their courageous actions downrange," said 24th Special
Operations Vice Wing Commander Col. Eric Ray. "It is also great to see
the family and friends who provide unwavering support for our warriors.
It's these spouses, fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters and other
family members whose continued sacrifices are seldom seen and never
recognized, but are critical to our success on the battlefield."
Lt. Gen. Eric Fiel, Air Force Special Operations Command commander,
pins the Air Force Combat Action Medal on Senior Airman Nathan Wright
at the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Fla., March 14,
2014. Airman Wright earned the medal for being physically engaged in
combat and taking enemy fire on a mission while deployed. (U.S. Air
Force photo/Staff Sgt. Victoria Sneed
With six Air Force Crosses, 30 Silver Stars and hundreds of Bronze
Stars, the 24th Special Operations Wing is the most decorated Air Force
unit since the end of the Vietnam War. This includes participation in
conflicts ranging from Operation Just Cause in Panama to actions in
Somalia, more famously coined by Hollywood as "Black Hawk Down," as
well as Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
in Courage" program was developed to highlight the honor, valor,
devotion and selfless sacrifice of America's Airmen
Michael Blout is a Portrait in Courage, Selected in Volume 8, 2014
deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Combat Controller
Staff Sergeant Michael Blout, averted catastrophe during high-risk
combat operations on October 23, 2012. Sergeant Blout and his team
entered Chak Valley, a known hotbed of insurgent activity in
Afghanistan’s Wardak Province. The team split into two elements
to patrol through dense, jungle-like undergrowth where one of the
elements was ambushed and immediately took casualties.
As he approached a
small clearing in the foliage, the team’s chief warrant officer
suffered multiple gunshot wounds to his chest and legs. While enemy
forces poured unrelenting machine gun and rocket propelled grenades
from a nearby tree line, Sergeant Blout, without regard for his own
life, dashed into the clearing between his teammates and the enemy.
suppressed enemy fighting positions with rifle fire, coordinated
AC-130W attacks along the enemy-held tree line, and called for an
urgent medical evacuation flight of helicopters to land on his
position. As the helicopters made their final approach, enemy fighters
increased their rate of fire. Sergeant Blout aborted the aircraft
before they could touch down and summoned three teammates to suppress
enemy fire sweeping the landing zone. Sergeant Blout then resumed the
evacuation of their mortally-wounded comrade as he summoned the
helicopters and coordinated an assault against an enemy machine gun
Blout’s actions in the clearing prevented the loss of a coalition
aircraft and prevented the friendly position from being overrun. His
heroic actions earned him a Silver Star.
Grateful Nation 2013 Award is presented to six young warriors
recognized for having distinguished themselves through superior conduct
in the War on Terrorism.
TSGT MICHAEL BLOUT, receives JINSA Award
Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs Grateful Nation Award
Service members including Tech Sgt. Michael Blout, second from right,
pose for a photo with Adm. William McRaven, U.S. Special Operations
Command commander, center, after receiving the Jewish Institute for
National Security Affairs Grateful Nation award in Washington, D.C.,
Dec. 2. The award is presented annually to six military members who
distinguished themselves through superior conduct and exceptional
service. They represent each of the five branches of the military and
U.S. Special Operations Command.
Thursday, December 26, 2013
FIELD, Fla. — A special tactics airman from Air Force Special
Operations Command received the Jewish Institute for National Security
Affairs Grateful Nation award Dec. 2 in Washington, D.C.
Sgt. Michael Blout, 23rd Special Tactics Squadron Combat Controller,
was selected for this award for providing joint terminal attack control
support for his unit in Afghanistan.
Blout is a 2001 graduate of New Bern High School and is the son of Mike and Mary Margaret Blout of New Bern.
one instance, Tech. Sgt. Blout helped a nearby U.S. service member who
was severely wounded and engaged in a gunfight. Blout selected a small
team and led them on a one-mile sprint toward the hostile fire to
locate his wounded teammate.
Blout placed himself between the wounded service member and the nearby
enemy force. While returning fire, he coordinated a medical evacuation
and an AC-130 gunship attack on the enemy.
team held their ground during an intense fire fight. Blout exposed
himself several times to identify insurgent positions as he coordinated
a series of attacks, which ultimately ended the action.
was one of six military members recognized in our nation’s
capital for their superior conduct and exceptional service.
was a surreal experience,” Blout said as he recalled the award
ceremony. “I am humbled and honored to be recognized for this
prestigious award and to represent the Air Force and Air Force Special
The award recipients represented each of the five branches of the military and the U.S. Special Operations Command.
was founded in 1976 as a non-profit, non-partisan organization to
advocate on behalf of a strong U.S. military, a robust national
security policy, and a strong U.S. relationship with Israel and other
many of my teammates have done incredible things in the battlefield in
the past year, and I’m lucky to work with these guys,”
Blout has also been nominated to receive the Silver Star for his actions.
|Military Heroes Honored by JINSA
Sergeant Michael T. Blout, a Combat Control Craftsman with the 23rd
Special Tactics Squadron, 720th Special Tactics Group, 24th Special
Operations Wing, Hurlburt, Florida, acted as a Joint Terminal Attack
Controller for an elite Army Special Forces team during eight high-risk
combat missions in Afghanistan. On one mission, while clearing an
enemy-held valley in Wardak, then-Staff Sergeant Blout learned of a
casualty in an area some distance from his position. He immediately
selected a small quick-reaction force and led them on a one-mile sprint
toward hostile gunfire. Upon reaching a clearing, he located both the casualty and a combat medic working furiously to save his life.
Blout immediately placed himself between them and the nearby enemy,
whose forces were well dug in along a nearby tree line. Amidst
unrelenting enemy fire, Sergeant Blout called for a medical evacuation
helicopter. Next, he coordinated an AC-130 gunship attack on the enemy.
At the sound of the approaching evacuation helicopter, Sergeant Blout,
ignoring enemy fire erupting all around him, dashed to open area to
mark the landing zone. During this entire time, he was on the radio
coordinating the evacuation helicopter’s approach and the
gunship’s attack runs, while simultaneously returning the
enemy’s fire with his personal weapon. Seeing an opportunity to
shoot down the rescue helicopter, the enemy increased its fire as it
approached. Sensing that the enemy might succeed, Sergeant Blout
aborted the landing and moved closer to the enemy’s position to
suppress their fire, now joined by his team. They closed within 30
meters and the intensity of their fire on the enemy allowed the rescue
helicopter to land and take on the casualty. At this point, the enemy
pressed forward and Sergeant Blout led his heavily outnumbered team in
a withdrawal while he simultaneously called in strafing runs by AH-64
Apache attack helicopters. As the Apaches departed, the enemy raced to
cut off Sergeant Blout’s team, using the dense foliage to cover
their movements. The situation had now become a fighting withdrawal
with enemy fire coming from the flanks as Sergeant Blout’s team
repeatedly returned fire and bounded to new positions in an attempt to
link up with reinforcements. Reaching exhaustion, the team held its
ground while Sergeant Blout again exposed himself to positively
identify insurgent positions as he coordinated another series of Apache
strafing runs that ultimately ended the action and enabled the link up
with the reinforcements. For his actions that day, Technical Sergeant
Blout has been nominated for the Silver Star