The 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 Technical Sergeant Scott A. Innis, United States Air Force, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United States as a Combat Control Journeyman, 22d Expeditionary Special Tactics Squadron, 16th Expeditionary Special Operations Group, Combined Joint Special Operations Command Central, Afghanistan, on 28 March 2006. In support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, Sergeant Innis and the other members of his elite Army Special Forces Detachment, located at a firebase in a heavily contested region of Afghanistan, were suddenly engulfed in a hailstorm of rocket propelled grenade, mortar, heavy machine gun, and small arms fire from three sides. Fully exposed to enemy fire and with total disregard for his own safety, Sergeant Innis scaled a ladder to an observation platform stationed at the center of the small firebase. The field-expedient plywood observation tower was the only structure visible outside the perimeter and a magnet for the bulk of the enemy fire. Despite dwindling cover, he remained perched above the battle guiding a devastating aerial counterattack. A marked man, the enemy quickly zeroes in on his position and was committed to killing him. Yet, with enemy rockets and small arms fire passing within mere inches of his exposed head and body, he continued to perform his duty, successfully utilizing his vast airmanship skills to neutralize the enemy. During the 24-hour pitched battle, Sergeant Innis defeated the enemy through the decisive use of airpower that resulted in the death or injury to over 100 insurgents. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Sergeant Innis has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

A three-star general had just pinned three medals to Scott Innis’ left lapel, but the technical sergeant avoided talking about himself.

The 16-year veteran of the Air Force said he was happy his family could attend the ceremony and the honor bestowed on his unit, the 22nd Special Tactics Squadron.

But, someone asked Innis, what did it mean to him personally?

“I’m happy for my unit,” he replied. “I like that I got the promotion points. And I think it’s 10 percent on my retirement, and that’s kind of cool.”

Innis might have deflected the personal glory, but make no mistake – plenty of attention was focused on him.

A Silver Star has a way of doing that.

Innis received the nation’s third-highest award for valor at a ceremony in a hanger at McChord Air Force Base for calling in aerial strikes from an exposed position during an attack in Afghanistan last year. He also received a Bronze Star and the Air Force Combat Action Medal for his duty while working as a joint terminal attack controller attached with an Army Special Forces unit.

Thirteen other airman received medals at the ceremony, but Air Force officials asked the news media not to identify all but one for security reasons. Ten Bronze Stars, two Purple Hearts and 12 Air Force Combat Action Medals were awarded.

Lt. Gen. Donald C. Wurster, the commander of the Air Force Special Operations Command, was on hand to award the medals. He compared the elite airmen to warriors from the Old Testament.

“A dozen Special Forces soldiers with a Combat Controller is an extremely lethal force when combined with airpower,” he said after the ceremony. “We showed it in the early days of Afghanistan, and we continue to show it today.”

Innis’ medal stems from his actions on March 28, 2006, when Innis and other members of the Army Special Forces detachment came under fire of rocket-propelled grenades, mortar rounds, heavy machine-gun and small-arms fire from three directions. Despite the danger, Innis scaled a ladder to an observation platform stationed at the center of their firebase. The platform was the only structure visible outside the perimeter and received the bulk of enemy fire.

From that platform, he called in and helped guide aerial counterattacks. He remained on the platform despite several close calls during the 24-hour battle and also coordinated to get injured coalition soldiers evacuated. The airpower he directed led to the death or injury of more than 100 Taliban insurgents.

“He’s a quiet professional,” said Lt. Col. Jeffrey F. Staha, the commander of the 22nd Special Tactics Squadron. “He’s one of the guys I turn to handle tough missions.”

Tech. Sgt. Jason Dryer received a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. In April, insurgents ambushed his unit in Afghanistan with rocket-propelled grenades

and small-arms fire. Dryer fought through the ambush and called in an airstrike by an AC-130 gunship. He also called in strikes to quash second and third waves of the ambush.

He later injured his knee and shoulder when an improvised-explosive device detonated near his vehicle in Afghanistan.

“I remember turning back to my friend and saying, ‘I can’t wait for this to be over,’ ” he said. “I turned back and don’t remember anything else. I woke up in my friend’s arms with all my clothes were cut off me and all bloody.”

He went to Kandahar for treatment and returned to his unit downrange about 10 days later.

Dryer said he’ll continue training and awaits his next assignment. Wurster had a message for him.

“I told him I didn’t want to give him another Purple Heart,” Wurster said, “so don’t earn one.”

       Technical Sergeant Scott Innis - someone you should know

Tech. Sgt. Scott Innis is pictured during his 2006 deployment to Afghanistan. During this deployment, Sergeant Innis served as a joint terminal air controller attached to an Army special forces team. He is a Combat Controller with the 22nd Special Tactics Squadron at McChord Air Force Base, Wash. One day, his team's forward-operating base came under heavy enemy fire. Sergeant Innis risked his life by climbing up a small, wooden observation tower in the middle of the base in order to direct close-air support against the enemy. Despite making himself a magnet for bullets and rocket-propelled grenades, the Combat Controller stayed in the tower for 24 hours directing fire, resulting in the elimination of more than 100 enemy fighters. Sergeant Innis was presented a Silver Star Dec. 18 for his actions that day in Afghanistan.

Well done, Sergeant. Well done, indeed!