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 Staff Sergeant Joseph M. Lienhard, United States Air Force, for gallantry in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United States near the Balkh Valley, Afghanistan, on 5 November 2001. On that date, Sergeant Lienhard targeted and destroyed an enemy bunker complex on 5 November 2001. His team was decisively engaged by a well-planned and executed counterattack by Taliban forces. With complete disregard for his own personal safety and despite heavy incoming small arms fire and rocket propelled grenades impacting all around his position, Sergeant Lienhard calmly remained exposed to coordinate emergency close air support. With nearly all of his host nation forces fleeing in panic and Taliban forces closing in on his position, Sergeant Lienhard instinctively and successfully directed numerous dangerous close air strikes to thwart the enemy's advance. Facing overwhelming odds, Sergeant Lienhard mounted his horse and lethally engaged the enemy with his M-4 rifle and M-203 grenade launcher providing covering fire while he repositioned another observation point. Withdrawing by fire, literally within feet of potential fatal gunfire, Sergeant Lienhard contacted a B-52 aircraft and with pinpoint accuracy targeted his previously occupied location. With devastating effectiveness, he controlled numerous bombing runs to recapture the strategically important ridgeline effectively breaking the Taliban's advance turning defeat into victory. Sergeant Lienhard's valor and calm demeanor under intense enemy fire exemplify the highest standards of bravery in the face of the enemy. His personal actions on the battlefield were decisive and instrumental in the liberation of six northern Afghan provinces and prevented a major defeat of General Dostam's Northern Alliance forces during their campaign to capture Mazer-e-Sharif. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Sergeant Lienhard has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.