Posted 10 months ago
By John P Tretbar
“I’m full time now with the security forces here at the 139th. I’ll stay out here as long as they keep me, and continue to keep training and deploying.”
Green was awarded the Purple Heart for injuries in combat during that insurgent attack, the first such commendation in the history of the 139th Airlift Wing.
On April 15, 2012, Green was involved in the attack on Forward Operating Base Finley Shields, in which he was knocked unconscious when the explosion of a vehicle-based IED near his barracks knocked out a metal window pane that hit him in the head. When he regained consciousness, Green was able to move to the team headquarters, where he provided fire direction for responding units and close protection for command staff.
In an interview, Green said he awoke to a scary situation, with explosions and gunfire, and someone yelling a foreign language trying to kick his door in. That did not stop Green from fullfilling his mission as Mission Security Officer and gunner.
“Waking up, it took me a minute to figure out what was going on. Someone asked me what it was like, and the best way I can describe it as ‘thinking through pudding.’ I could see things, and hear things, but to actually process it and put it together took a little bit. Then it was like ‘Oh! It’s gunfire, that’s an explosion.’ So it took a little while to actually process all the information that was coming in.”
When he received an all clear from outside that door, he sped to the command building.
“I was the only one there at that moment. I’m not saying those other guys couldn’t have done it, but I was the one that was on scene with our commander, our sergeant major, our executive officer. We had to keep that building.”
More than 100 of his comrades in arms, along with family members, friends, two mayors and other officials from St Joseph and Cameron watched as the native son received his commendation. Former wing commander, the Assistant Adjutant General, Brigadier General Stephen Cotter pinned the medal on his uniform, saluted him, and then shook his hand.
Green says he’s back to 100% and ready to go. He’s not backing down from his duty, or his devotion to his unit, but he says a return to Afghanistan is not in the cards, for now.
“I tried, but I think my wife would divorce me if I did that right now,” Green said. “Maybe Qatar, or Saudi, something like that, but you can’t dodge those things, because eventually my number will come up and I’ll have to go. That’s what we do.”
When asked about his own heroism during the attack, Green was quick to turn the question around and give credit to others, including the members of the Missouri National Guard who eventually supressed the attack. He called their actions “nothing short of heroic.”
“There was one airman who was a mechanic,” Green said. “He was in my eyes one of the heroes of the day. He works on generators and things like that for airplanes. But, he goes over there and does this job, and does exactly what he’s supposed to do when that situation arises.”
“Just the fact that you can take a hodge podge Air and Army Guard people, and make a successful combat unit out of it, I think, makes the whole thing a success.”
Green is a graduate of Lafayette High School in St Joseph, where he was born. He currently lives in Cameron with his wife Audrey, and his children Madison, Jarod, Olivia, Lainey and Kirby.