The Soldier’s Medal: for Heroes Among Us

The Soldier’s Medal is given to active duty service members for non-combat actions. The criteria for a Soldier’s Medal must have involved personal hazard or danger and the voluntary risk of life under conditions not involving conflict with an armed enemy. (Army.mil) The Soldier’s Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Medal, Air Force and Space Force Airman’s Medal, and Coast Guard Medal are all in the same category. Sometimes the awards aren’t made immediately after an incident, but eventually honor catches up.

Action Date November 2017:

The Soldiers medal is awarded to Sgt First Class Jedidia Powell -Screenshot Via DVIDShub

On April 10, 2021, Sgt First Class Jedidia Powell, Oregon National Guard, received the Soldier’s Medal from  Brig. Gen. Gregory Day, and Col. Philip DeMontigny, 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team commander. In November of 2017, he repeatedly ran into a burning house to save two women and a dog.

About a block and a half away, a teenage boy was assisting his severely burned mother out of the building and calling for help, Powell said. He got her to safety, then ran into the house.

“There’s huge flames coming from the kitchen, a lot of smoke,” he said in a recent video interview. “I noticed a woman on my right-hand side who was disoriented down on the floor. She was trying to grab a dog.”

He got both the woman and her dog out of the house and laid her next to the other woman, then returned to the house to clear other rooms. As Powell exited, a fellow soldier showed up and they ran together to the back of the house to make sure the garage was empty.

Stripes

Sgt First Class Powell said “It really wasn’t no big thing.” Four years later, he received the award. His command was persistent in pursuing it for him.

Action Date April 2019

Captain Christopher Long was awarded the Soldier’s Medal on May 11, 2021 by Maj. Gen. Patrick Donahoe at Fort Benning, GA in recognition for the Captain’s attempt to stop an attack on another soldier, Staff Sgt Amy Colbert.

The soldier’s medal is awarded to Captain Christopher Long (PATRICK A. ALBRIGHT/U.S. ARMY)

The fatal assault happened on April 6, 2019, the night of a welcome home celebration for deployed troops returning to Fort Bliss, Texas. Sgt. Amy Colbert, who had recently come home from Kuwait, was stabbed by her husband, Sgt. Lance E. Colbert, who had been lying in wait wearing a disguise, the service said in the statement.

“He pulled out a big 13-inch hunting blade hidden in his pants,” Long said. “He went for his wife. I got there as fast as I could, ripped him off her and took him to the ground.”…

Long then assessed Amy Colbert’s wounds and notified the William Beaumont Army Medical Center emergency room that she’d been stabbed multiple times. Medical experts believe his quick response prevented her from bleeding out at the scene.

Stripes

Captain Long wishes he knew about the knife and that he could have gotten to her sooner, since SSgt Colbert (nee Contreras) died later. He says he deals with that regret every day. But he is still a hero for doing his level best to stop someone from an evil act.

We’ve written about heroes from every branch in noncombat settings as well as combat ones. Marines who have braved the dangerous rip tides around Okinawa to save someone who was drowning, or soldiers who grabbed people from burning vehicles: when our military members are trained to respond regardless of the risk to their own lives, heroes happen.

The medals given for non-combat actions are every bit as important as the more well known combat medals. And we are thankful that there are heroes among us.

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Featured photo: file

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