Pope Airfield airman awarded Silver Star, the 3rd highest honor in the Department of Defense

Akilah Davis Image
Friday, August 14, 2020
Airman awarded Silver Star for acts of bravery in Afghanistan
Airman awarded Silver Star for acts of bravery in Afghanistan

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (WTVD) -- An Air Force Master Sergeant was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star and Second Oak Leaf Cluster for his selflessness and acts of leadership.

During a clearing mission in Afghanistan on May 25, 2013, John Grimesey and his team encountered enemy fire while attempting to save an Afghan commander who had been shot by opposing forces. Grimesey was attacked with a rocket propelled grenade and, despite his injuries, he saved the life of an American special forces solider all while returning fire to enemy forces.

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Grimesey proceeded to engage the enemy while also controlling multiple air strikes. In total, he and his team took out 31 enemy fighters, recovered the body of a highly regarded Afghan commander, and saved multiple American and Afghan lives.

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"To earn the same award as other people that have done things that are so incredibly selfless is humbling to be apart of that elite fraternity," said Grimesey. "During the course of that engagement, I was struck by an RPG. The Army Special Forces soldier was injured. I pulled him away from the compound."

The Silver Star medal is an upgrade from a previously-awarded decoration.

Grimesey will also receive the Bronze Star Medal and Second Oak Leaf Cluster with Valor for his quick and precise response during an ambush in Afghanistan in 2017. He credits his father for teaching him the value in standing for his country.

"My father is the Superintendent of Moore County Schools. He was and still is my hero. He instilled a specific work ethic growing up," said Grimesey.