Profiles of Valor: U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Phillip King

On 8 August 2006, in Ebrahimkhel, Afghanistan, just north of Kandahar, Air Force Senior Airman Phillip King was leading a convoy to help the Afghan National Police (ANP) and Afghan National Army (ANA) when a rocket-propelled grenade landed within five yards of his Humvee. A full-scale insurgent attack came right on its tail.

Apr. 11, 2010

On 8 August 2006, in Ebrahimkhel, Afghanistan, just north of Kandahar, Air Force Senior Airman Phillip King was leading a convoy to help the Afghan National Police (ANP) and Afghan National Army (ANA) when a rocket-propelled grenade landed within five yards of his Humvee. A full-scale insurgent attack came right on its tail.

Returning fire, King positioned his Humvee to shield the convoy against the incoming barrage. When a second RPG blast gave him a concussion, King persisted, exposing himself to intense enemy fire to direct defensive fire by Afghan soldiers. This allowed an ANA soldier to neutralize the enemy site using a hand grenade.

As King led his team out of danger amid continued sniper fire, he discovered a second ambush site where Taliban forces had entrapped five Afghan soldiers with gunfire. King maneuvered his vehicle, freed the soldiers, then led the ANP and ANA troops to establish a perimeter.

Still taking heavy fire from machine guns, small arms, and RPGs, King’s team called in air support. Just before it arrived, King again exposed himself to intense fire to mark the targets for the bombers, which effectively took out the Taliban position. Airman King’s actions saved the lives of more than a dozen Afghans and helped eliminate 20-25 Taliban militants. His team suffered no casualties.

King, who volunteered for the 365-day Afghanistan deployment, called it “another day on the job.” The U.S. military called it heroism in ground combat. For his actions, Airman King was awarded the Bronze Star with combat “V” for valor.

This account was originally published in the Sept. 28, 2007 Digest.

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