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 Douglas J. Matthews, United States Air Force, for gallantry in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United States near Jalrez, Wardak Province, Afghanistan on 27 November 2012. On that date, Sergeant Matthews displayed extraordinary bravery, technical skill, and a complete disregard for his own safety when his vehicle struck a command detonated improvised explosive device, immediately ejecting him from the 15 ton vehicle, and triggering a complex ambush. Sustaining head injuries and multiple lacerations from the blast, Sergeant Matthews immediately came to his feet and faced torrents of fire from 12 different enemy fighting positions, some as close as 30 meters to the beleaguered convoy. Though seriously wounded, Sergeant Matthews returned fire and immediately maneuvered back to his overturned vehicle to aid his wounded teammates. While under direct and accurate enemy fire, Sergeant Matthews discovered his team leader ejected from the vehicle and incapacitated from a traumatically amputated lower extremity. Sergeant Matthews moved the wounded Soldier to safety along an embankment while still exchanging fire with enemy forces, as secondary explosions from ammunition in the burning vehicle added to the chaotic scene on the narrow road. As his Special Forces Team regrouped, Sergeant Matthews furiously coordinated close air support and a medical evacuation for his grievously injured teammates. Sergeant Matthews remained in exposed positions, despite increasing volumes of enemy fire striking all around his position, and accurately directed strafing runs to hold the attacking insurgent forces at bay. As medical evacuation helicopters arrived, Sergeant Matthews refused to be evacuated with the other occupants of the now burning vehicle, and remained on scene to direct a withering barrage of close air support that eventually broke the back of the enemy attack. Sergeant Matthews continued to engage with multiple air platforms until a quick reaction force arrived, allowing his team to break contact and return to their base. His heroism under fire while directing close air support allowed friendly forces to recover all personnel with no loss of life and maneuver out of the ambush's kill zone. Sergeant Matthews actions undoubtedly saved the lives of his wounded teammates and an Afghan interpreter. By his gallantry and devotion to duty Sergeant Matthews has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
Above; Combat Controllers with the Oregon Air National Guard’s 125th Special Tactics Squadron pose for a group photo with Air National Guard Director Lt. Gen. Stanley E. Clarke III (third from left) and Air National Guard Command Chief Master Sergeant James W. Hotaling (center) following an award ceremony, March 24, at the 41st Infantry Division Armed Forces Reserve Center at Camp Withycombe, in Clackamas, Ore. From left: Staff Sgt. Christopher Jones received the Bronze Star with Valor and first Oak Leaf Cluster; Staff Sgt. Matthew Matlock received the Bronze Star Medal with Valor and second Oak Leaf Cluster; Lt. Gen. Stanley Clarke; Chief Master Sergeant James Hotaling (a former Oregon Air Guard member); Tech. Sgt. Doug Matthews received the rarely awarded Silver Star; and Tech. Sgt. George Thompson received the Bronze Star.
-- The Oregon Air National Guard honored a group of Airmen with the 125th Special Tactics Squadron with a Silver Star and Bronze Star medals, during a ceremony Monday.
Attending were Lt. Gen. Eric E. Fiel, commander, Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, Fla.; Lt. Gen. Stanley E. Clarke III, director, Air National Guard, the Pentagon and Maj. Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, adjutant general of Oregon.
The Airmen recognized were Tech. Sgt. Doug Matthews with the Silver Star; Staff Sgt. Matthew Matlock with the Bronze Star Medal with Valor and second Oak Leaf Cluster; Staff Sgt. Christopher Jones with the Bronze Star with Valor and first Oak Leaf Cluster; and Tech. Sgt. George Thompson with the Bronze Star.
"The 125th STS has a proud history of displaying valor and heroism in combat," said Maj. TJ Awada, commander of the 125th STS. "The actions of Sergeants Matthews, Jones, Matlock, and Thompson are in keeping with the highest traditions of this squadron and the Oregon National Guard.
On Nov. 27, 2012, the vehicle Matthews was riding in struck an improvised explosive device, triggering a coordinated ambush near Jalrez, Wardak Province in Afghanistan. Despite being ejected from the vehicle, and sustaining head injuries and multiple lacerations, he immediately came to his feet and faced small-arms fire from 12 different enemy fighting positions, some as close as 30 meters.
Although seriously wounded, Matthews returned fire and made his way back to the overturned vehicle to aid his wounded teammates. He located his team leader, who was ejected from the vehicle and seriously wounded, and moved him to safety while continuing to exchange fire with the enemy. As his Special Forces teammates regrouped, Matthews coordinated close air support and medical evacuation for the wounded. Despite being exposed to enemy fire, he continued to direct close air support, which eventually repelled the enemy.
"His heroism under fire while directing close air support allowed friendly forces to recover all personnel with no loss of life and maneuver out of the ambush's kill zone. Sergeant Matthews' actions undoubtedly saved the lives of his wounded teammates and an Afghan interpreter," the award citation reads.