|Master Sgt. Ian Dunbar shakes the hand of Silver Star recipient Sgt. 1st Class Steven V. Kimsey|
Sgt. 1st Class Steve Kimsey received the Silver Star for his actions last year during an attack in an operations center in Afghanistan that left two Fort Bragg Soldiers dead and threatened at least six other people. On Jan. 29, 2010, an Afghan interpreter, who had just been fired, attacked the center with an AK-47 and four full magazines at Camp Nunez in Wardak Province.
Kimsey, who was wearing a Beretta M9 pistol, was the only other person in the room who was armed. He stood up, stepped in front of the unarmed people and shot the interpreter to death. "It all happened really quick -- shots the first time, shots the second time," Kimsey said. "I keyed in it's not right. I was a little bit prepared, hair on the back of the neck standing up."
Maj. Gen. Kurt Fuller, the deputy commanding general of U.S. Army Special Operations Command, presented the medal during the 95th Civil Affairs Brigade's fourth annual Global Civil Affairs Conference. "As bad as it was, it could have been a lot worse," Fuller said. Fuller himself was in Afghanistan at the time as deputy commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division. He first learned of the incident while flying on a helicopter en route to another location.
At the time of the incident, Kimsey was assigned to Company A of the 91st Civil Affairs Battalion and working with an A-team from 3rd Special Forces Group.
After being fired for unsatisfactory behavior, the interpreter went to another interpreter's room and obtained the weapon and ammunition. While halfway into the operations center, the interpreter shot and killed Spc. Marc P. Decoteau, 19, of Waterville Valley, N.H. Then Capt. David J. Thompson was shot in the abdomen and later died of his wounds.
"On the base, everybody is a little more relaxed," Kimsey said. "I just always carry my weapon on me."
Kimsey made a "split-second decision to go against his natural human reaction, which would be to get down and get behind cover," Fuller said, “His Soldier training also would have prompted him to get down and find cover when he came under fire.”
Kimsey, 32, of Cumberland Gap, Tenn., said his past experience as a Ranger and infantryman taught him to act aggressively. "When it all went down, it was pretty much all training," Kimsey said. Kimsey is now an assistant instructor with the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg.
"It's an honor to be associated with Soldiers like him," said Col. Jay Wolff, commander of the 95th Civil Affairs Brigade. –Yes, you're right, Colonel, and it is an honor for us to have soldiers like this going in harms way to keep us safe!
Live Long and Prosper....