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April 5, 2023

Profiles of Valor: SSG James F. Moriarty (USA)

When “friendly forces” become mortal enemies…

Houston, Texas native James Moriarty enlisted in the Army in 2011 after he graduated from the University of Texas. In 2012, he was selected for the Special Forces Qualification Course and, after completion, became a Special Forces weapons sergeant assigned to 1st Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

On November 4, 2016, then Staff Sgt. Moriarty was a 27-year-old Green Beret in Jordan, when he was killed while attempting to protect his fellow Green Berets. On that day, Moriarty and others were returning to King Faisal Air Base when a rogue Jordanian security guard opened fired on them, also killing two other Green Berets — Staff Sgt. Matthew Lewellen, 27, of Kirksville, Missouri and Staff Sgt. Kevin McEnroe, 30, of Tucson, Arizona.

He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.

His Silver Star award came four years after his death, the result of reviewing his actions, which were caught on security cameras at the airbase. He was credited by U.S. Special Operations Command investigators with giving his own life in order to help save the lives of his fellow soldiers. According to investigators, while another soldier “maneuvered to gain a better position, SSG Moriarty stood and fired his pistol directly at the [Jordanian], who was wearing body armor.”

Further: “After closing in on their position, the [Jordanian] shot SSG Moriarty twice mortally wounding him. SSG Moriarty’s actions enabled the remaining soldier to maneuver and engage the shooter and seriously wound him.”

Reflecting on his son’s service, Moriaty’s father, Jim, told Army Times: “He was one of the most extraordinary human beings I’ve ever known, and I mourn him every day. … He was built like a beer can, but he was a beer can that could run like a gazelle. He got up off the sofa after being out drinking all night and ran his first half marathon in an hour and 28 minutes. He wanted, above all, to be Special Forces, and he did brilliantly going through the Q Course, all of that training. But he had no ego.”

Of the video footage, Moriarty’s father said: “You cannot imagine what it’s like to see the last few moments of your beloved son’s life. … In the last five minutes of that video, I see a young man who was smart, engaged, present, wary, and protective of the surviving [Green Beret]. He had a backbone of steel and was utterly unafraid of the challenge he took on.”

The Jordanian survived but was tried, convicted, and sentenced to life in prison. Families of the three slain Green Berets are in legal battles with the Kingdom of Jordan to secure his extradition. According to his father: “Part of why I’m demanding his extradition is because I want him interviewed again about what happened. And maybe this time we’ll get the full story.”

For the service and sacrifice of SSG Moriarty, SSG Lewellen, and SFC McEnroe, we offer our eternal gratitude, and for the absence they leave among their families and friends, our prayers.

Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Pro Deo et Libertate — 1776


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The Patriot Post and Patriot Foundation Trust, in keeping with our Military Mission of Service to our uniformed service members and veterans, are proud to support and promote the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, both the Honoring the Sacrifice and Warrior Freedom Service Dogs aiding wounded veterans, the National Veterans Entrepreneurship Program, the Folds of Honor outreach, and Officer Christian Fellowship, the Air University Foundation, and Naval War College Foundation, and the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation. "Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one's life for his friends." (John 15:13)

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