Troy Scott, of Springfield, spent just over a year in Afghanistan with the Illinois National Guard.
During that time, his actions on the battlefield earned him the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star and Purple Heart.
The Distinguished Service Cross is America’s second-highest military honor, the Silver Star is the third-highest and the Purple Heart is sometimes awarded to those who are injured by the enemy and more often than not continue to fight.
Scott Downplays His Part
"We’re talking about a five-hour action over a 13-month deployment, and I can think of more harrowing things that happened over those thirteen months".
"I would see heroic actions by both U.S. soldiers, our coalition partners like Poland, and even our Afghan partners on a daily basis".
When And Where The Incident Occurred
The grenade incident occurred Jan. 6, 2009, in the Ghazni province in southeast Afghanistan and Scott said that on the previous night, one of the coalition patrols had enemy contact at a village.
So the next day, Scott took a patrol to the area to investigate.
As the patrol was walking down a narrow alley, a grenade was thrown from a rooftop that landed between Scott and Sgt. 1st Class Robert O’Brien, also of Springfield.
Scott said he scooped the grenade up, tossed it aside and wrapped his arm around O’Brien in an attempt to shield him.
The grenade detonated in the air about two or three feet away and the concussion concussion blew both of them through a doorway.
Injured But On The Offensive
Scott suffered minor shrapnel wounds and a dislocated shoulder and O’Brien had some broken ribs.
"I’m kind of a big guy with all my armor on and I hit him at full stride",
After the grenade attack, Scott and O’Brien went on the offensive.
"Immediately afterwards, we moved through the door, went down the road and engaged those who attacked us".
"We (myself and O’Brien) took seven prisoners before the rest of the unit caught up with us".
The unit, which included Polish soldiers, then searched the village and found bomb-making materials and other enemy supplies.
Scott stressed that O’Brien played big part in the mission and downplayed the fact that they both chased down the insurgents after being wounded by the grenade.
"We really didn’t have a whole lot of choices",
But O’Brien said in a later interview he has no doubt Scott saved his life that day.
"He should have gotten down when he saw the grenade".
He said Scott is a phenomenal leader who doesn’t seek the limelight but leads by example.
After the grenade attack, for instance, O’Brien said he had to hustle to keep up with Scott.
"He didn’t slow down once",