“For Airman King, it was ‘another day on the job!'”
[Air Force photo by Edward Cannon
“Senior Airman Phillip King with the 95th Security Forces”]
On August 8, 2006, Senior Airman Phillip King was stationed to Qalat Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan. He was assigned to the International Security Assistance Force performing security forces duties.
On the day in question Airman King was assisting the Afghan National Police and Afghan National Army. Riding along with the convoy in his Humvee as security he was to assist the two groups with a problem at a check point. The Taliban were attacking the checkpoint.
The convoy was first attacked by an RPG and other means of enemy fire in the Ebrahimkhel village. Airman King and the convoy suspected something wasn’t right because the village was too quiet as they approached it. The enemy waited for the convoy to reach the narrow streets of the village to launch their attack.
What Airman King did next was nothing short of extreme valor on his part and only one of many like actions that day that saved the life of the convoy members who finally managed to come through the incident safely. Airman King placed himself between the convoy members and the Taliban fighters several times throughout the enemy barrage. He exposed himself to personal danger directing air support and setting up the convoy members in a defensive posture.
That first enemy RPG landed about 5 meters from the airman. Another assault caused the Airman to have a concussion. Still, he kept firing back at the enemy to provide cover for the rest of his team. Under his direction and leadership, the enemy’s flanking attempts were thwarted. As his convoy attempted to move to safety the Taliban adjusted their assault and Airman King again took preventive maneuvers by establishing new perimeters.
Twice Airman King repositioned “more than a dozen ANA and ANP gunners into an effective perimeter” while “firing his M4 and M203 weapons to help suppress enemy fire” because the enemy kept altering their positions accordingly. At one point 5 convoy members were pinned down and King was able to safely extract them into their perimeter.
Before help finally arrived about twenty minutes later, King managed to lead the convoy in several perimeter positions as the convoy fought back the enemy advances. When it was all over, all of the convoy members safely survived the Taliban attacks unhurt.
As he attempted to defend against the Taliban onslaught and mark their position for the air cover, “he exposed himself to high volumes of enemy fire” repeatedly. His acts of heroism and quick thinking saved lives and prevented injury to all the ANA and ANP gunners. Airman King displayed the leadership and courage we have come to expect from all our troops. While he was decorated for heroism and valor, Airman King considered what he did “another day on the job.”
by Airman 1st Class Julius Delos Reyes