On Sept. 29, 2012, a three-man explosive ordnance disposal team, consisting of (then) Tech. Sgt. Michael
Sears, (then) Staff Sgt. John Hurley and Staff Sgt. Josh Jerden, defeated two separate improvised
explosive devices when their patrol came under heavy machine gun and sniper fire.
Eight to 10 insurgents sent rounds impacting one to three feet from the EOD vehicle, when Sears
witnessed a rocket-propelled grenade fly within three feet of his truck’s turret and then continue on to
strike a Polish command mine-resistant, armored-protective vehicle. While Hurley provided cover fire,
Sears sprinted through a wall of enemy gunfire across 50 feet of open terrain to reach a wounded Polish
soldier. Sears dragged the wounded soldier to the west side of the vehicle to shield the exposed soldier
from danger and administered tactical combat care for a partially amputated leg. Jerden, operating as
the driver, moved the EOD vehicle to provide cover for Sears and the wounded soldier.
Despite the cover, several rounds of enemy gunfire impacted within feet of Sears and the Polish soldier’s
position and another RPG came within feet of Hurley in the EOD vehicle’s turret. Sears immediately
jumped onto the wounded soldier placing himself between the threat and his coalition partner and
engaged the enemy with his M4 carbine rifle.
Sears recognized the wounded soldier’s vital signs were deteriorating, but the Polish medics were
pinned down and separated. Hurley began to provide covering fire from the turret as Sears twice
braved a 100-foot wide open area, blanketed with intense small arms and RPG fire, in order to escort
the medics to the wounded soldier. After ensuring the wounded soldier had medical aid, the team
went on to suppress the attacking insurgents and ensure the expedient recovery of a disabled vehicle,
allowing the wounded soldier to be quickly evacuated to Forward Operating Base Waghez for onward
movement to Bagram Airfield Hospital.
The EOD team demonstrated extreme courage. Sears was awarded the the Silver Star and Purple Heart.
Hurley and Jerden were both submitted for the Air Force Commendation with Valor.