October 29, 2007

CRAPO HONORS MAGIC VALLEY IRAQ WAR VETERAN

Bronze Star recipient Vaughn Ward noted in Congressional Record statement

Washington, DC - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo honored a Shoshone native, Bronze Star recipient Major Vaughn Ward, with a statement published in the Congressional Record. Ward earned his medal for bravery during combat near where he was stationed in Fallujah, Iraq, in 2006. Crapo met with Ward earlier this month to congratulate him on his distinguished service and to present him with a gold-bordered copy of the statement. (A photo of the presentation accompanies this news release.)

Ward's heroism came during his command of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 25th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 5. Part of Ward's assignment was to protect the local Iraqi Police Headquarters in Fallujah, one of the most dangerous locations in Iraq.

"Insurgent forces regularly attacked this strategic position," Crapo said. "During the tour, insurgents launched over a dozen complex attacks against his position, utilizing AK-47s . . . and Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Devices. From March through October, Charlie Company engaged the enemy over 130 times, conducted nearly a thousand foot and vehicle patrols, and carried out over 100 raids against insurgent locations."

Even in the thick of battle, Ward never lost his strong decision-making and leadership skills. Crapo said of Ward: "In war, he says fear is a cancer, and leaders have to be willing to do themselves what they order others to do. He lived this in Iraq, personally leading foot patrols from the front against the advice of fellow officers. He felt that it was wrong to order his subordinates to do something that he was unwilling to do himself."

Crapo noted that Ward makes it a point of sharing the good things that the U.S. military is doing in Iraq. Ward says Al Anbar Province has been transformed over the past year, and he is proud that the conflict was fought on the terms of the Marines-not the insurgents. Crapo concluded his statement by saying he is "privileged to publicly offer my humble thanks and that of my family, state and country for Major Vaughn Ward's extraordinary and valorous service to the United States of America."

Ward grew up in the Magic Valley, and Crapo noted in his statement for the Congressional Record that his Iraq duty with the U.S. Marines was not the first time Ward faced a fight. Due to complications at birth, Ward was initially not expected to survive. When he did, the doctors told his family that they expected he would become special. Ward grew up to assist with the family dairy, join the Marine Corps and become a legislative aide to former Idaho Senator Dirk Kempthorne. He is now in the process of returning to Idaho with his wife and young daughter to live.